29 May 2011

A Peeping Dove

Now that is startling. I just witnessed a dove fending off a rival after his mate.

This forlorn male dove has adopted my mirpeset as his home. As soon as my husband rises in the morning, 5:30 or 6:00 am, he's sitting on the rail peering into our bedroom. My husband is very amused by this dove's antics.

It seems he has attached himself to the source of all delights ... delicious Israeli sunflower seeds.

He's a peeping-dove. Whether flying in from the left, deftly landing on 'his' rail spot, feet touching down precisely with wings spread in splendor. Or approaching the front patio, he zooms in from the building opposite. Sometimes he soars in from far atop a roof, wings guiding his landing on the windowsill inches from where I'm sitting. And then maybe he'll be sitting on a branch of the Evergreen waiting for me to show up. He sees me and swoosh, he's there on the mirpeset.

Yes he's quite entertaining.

However, I have started feeling quite sad for peeping-dove. He's quite lonely. At any time of the day he could be found hanging around my place. Even birds can be socially deprived, not just people.

Most doves are family birds. Finding a mate for life, they embark on nest building, raising fledglings, and so the pattern of life repeats itself. Building a nest is quite complicated. The female finds a spot and softly coos her intention. The male flutters back and forth, twigs in beak for the nest building. Precisely, he selects just the right thickness of the first twigs. First a foundation. The male picks up a twig in his beak, if not the right length and thickness he drops it for another, so goes the selection.  Then a slightly lighter twig for the base and each layer builds intricately atop the previous to weave a cushion for her majesty to lay eggs and sit.

It might be that the female decides on a different spot. So she abandons the half-started nest. On to a new ledge, or branch. And the male begins his tedious selecting process anew. Actually he brings the twigs to her and she puts it in place.

Yes, selecting a home is the same for birds as it is for us humans. We select according to the right combination of needs.

I've seen sparrows searching the flower boxes for the size twigs they need. There is even one daring sparrow who will sit on the flower box outside even while I'm on the enclosed porch. Usually if they see me, in unison they all take off to the branches. What is unusual about this one sparrow is that seeds were already dispersed hours ago, but he sits and waits like the dove. Not like the others that fly over,  peer down looking for seeds, and then in unison fly off. This sparrow is often the last sparrow to visit close to their "licht-bentching" bedtime. They seem to retire about the same time one would light candles if it were erev Shabbat. 

[to be continued]