Thursday, September 05, 2013

It's Definitely Spring

There's much activity taking place on our back verandah where the doves are nest building. One pair is busily setting up home in the box on top of the cupboard - always a popular place. It's so popular in fact that we have completely given up using the box for any other purpose and just clean it out once the nesting season is over.

The other pair has been entertaining me  - and the cat and dog, although their interest isn't as benign as mine, I suspect - for about a week. It began when the male arrived and made a close inspection of the property - the flat cover of the retractable verandah clothesline just outside the family room window, which makes it nicely visible. He marched around, viewing it from all angles and came back, calling loudly, a short time later. His lady friend wasn't in too much of a hurry and his calls got increasingly loud and agitated, accompanied by much head bobbing. Eventually she decided it just might be worth checking out and did her own investigations. She wasn't rushing into anything though because it was another day before they arrived to start building.

Then the fun really started. Obviously having her own very definite views on appropriate division of labour, she waited on site while he went off and brought her what he considered appropriate building materials. After a fairly unsuccessful start, when she rejected a large number and tossed them down to the ground and he, heading out for more, would fly out and see this pile of wonderful twigs and grasses and take them back to her - I imagined her rolling her eyes and muttering under her breath as she dumped them again - he seemed to get the hang of it and this morning there was a vaguely nest shaped pile in place.

Given dove's nests are notoriously messy and badly made I began to think that was going to be it. Even when they're completed I look at them and wonder how the eggs ever manage to stay in place. In fact quite a lot of them don't and it's not uncommon to find the shattered remains on the ground below the nest. Still, as the day progressed, the little hen continued to work and she seemed to be doing a better job than many who have built there. Then I noticed the male was taking longer and longer to find suitable material and I had an idea. I collected a large handful of twigs of the sort they were using and scattered them where I could see them a short distance from the building site.

The male was ecstatic. He flew down from where he had been watching me and ran around in circles, stopping every now and then to investigate a particularly fine piece. Once he had calmed down he began transferring it to his mate. I'm pleased to say the nest is now looking almost finished and pretty much all of my offerings have been used. I expect eggs any day.


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