01 June 2011

Peeping Dove

(continued)


Our first encounter with doves was with a pair I call lovey-dovies. They welcomed us to the neighborhood. "Our new neighbors." Having chosen the Abarbanel/Ibn Ezra area for themselves, they wanted to share their world with us. We gratefully obliged, spreading seeds for them in the mornings.

One day I noticed the curious couple peeping in when all of a sudden another dove swoops down right between the male and female and starts his mating dance right up to the female. Flutter, swoosh, and the sound of doves taking flight across my full-length patio windows, male pursuing female with her agitated mate close in pursuit. My startled eyes witness one male chasing after the intruder giving him a k-nock in mid-flight. I guess that was a "leave my mate alone" encounter.

I miss my lovey-dovey pair. Whenever they do arrive, in hot pursuit comes intruder-dove. This scene envelops me as I sit on the enclosed patio, sunshine glistening on the evergreens, pecking away sentences and thoughts into my iPad. What a scenario. A three way dove love tryst in motion. Who would ever have thought it?

I discovered intruder dove is none other than peeping dove. The poor guy is lonely and I would say heartbroken. He has claimed our mirpeset as his. Sparrows don't bother him and they are not fearful of him. But they hastily scamper when they see me. He stays not detered by me at all. In fact, we have a sort of conversation going. I give him Mussar now and then. He listens, with one black beady eye fixed on me. But I don't think it really makes a difference to him. He's very very persistent. I actually don't know who's watching who?

Now, our lovey dovey couple are another story. The female comes ever so quietly and modestly nibbles on her sunflower snack, looking at me often. She'll watch me and when I call to her, she ruffles her neck feathers which leaves me to believe she is responding in some fashion. She even walks along the sill where I'm sitting and peeps threw the window staring at me. Yes, there is a quiet verbal eye contact being made. They are quite inquisitive. We have that much in common.

One Shabbat they were sitting together up atop the two pipes attached to the air conditioner. These pipes formed a ledge of sorts and mrs dove was squatting there cooing. Her mate was flying up and down with twigs. I was so excited and tried keeping a subtle watch on the progress. This went on for a few days.

The next Shabbat they were there again. The big windows to the enclosed porch were slightly ajar, no screen. I find it obstructs the beautiful view of trees, birds, and majestic skies. Anyway, I was sitting at our Shabbat table during a seuda and my eye caught mrs dove flying thru the slightly open window into our enclosed mirpeset and atop a cabinet. Maybe she was selecting a new nesting place? Well, as delighted as I was by her admiration for a nesting venture, I didn't want the mess. I could see having to keep the window open for months while first her mate brings the twigs, then eggs arrive, then she "sits", then they take turns sharing shifts, and then the weeks of chirping and dodoo mess building up. Not to mention an array of twigs, papers, and feathers littering the floor, flying thru the air landing into the living room. An instantaneous flash of impending mess.

Slowly I got up and entered the mirpeset, she saw me and flew toward the outside mirpeset. The glass surprised her and she landed on the floor. I tried to soothe her by softly whispering not to get scared and that I was helping her. Ever so slowly I inched toward her and unlocked and opened the door. With an air of royalty she sauntered ever so slowly out onto the open mirpeset. She did look back at me though.

Now I understand how doves can be trained to be messengers ... "Homing pigeons" they call them. My mind pictured Noah carrying his dove to the tiny window atop the ark to send her out in search of a nesting branch after the flood. And her returning when she didn't find one. There is something special about doves. I love sharing my mirpeset with them.

But what will be with peeping dove? Will he ever find a mate? Did he ever have a mate? Maybe this female he constantly goes after was once his mate but she threw him out and found a new, more sensitive mate. And he can't accept it and keeps going after her. Deliberately swooping down between them. My imagination? I don't think so.