Sad story - a re-posting

Last Friday, a mourning dove bashed into my dining room window so hard it killed it, pine needle for the nest it was building still in its mouth as it lay dying on the ground beneath the window. It was very, very sad.

It made me think of a post I wrote about this time last year for my other blog, a personal blog I now rarely (if ever) post to. Rather than rehashing that post, I'll just go ahead and copy and paste it for ya here. Beware, it's kind of sad ... hence the title.

Sad Story

For several weeks, I've watched from my window as two mourning doves (my favorite birds) created a home in the juniper bush outside my study. I've seen the evolution of their nest, from a few pine needles to a full-blown home. The nest quickly became the full-time residence of what I first thought was a dedicated mama bird, never leaving the spot in the name of her soon-to-come (or maybe they were already there) eggs. Dad would stop by occasionally to see how things were going ... and feed her, I hoped.

Then one day I witnessed a shift change. It was TWO dedicated parents, not one! It was a true co-parenting deal, with each bird taking a turn keeping up the home front while the other grabbed a snack. No slacker dad here ... he shared the duties willingly and just as efficiently as his partner.

Day in and day out, one of them was there. I appreciated their presence while I typed away at the computer, finding solace in the fact that although I faced rough times and what seemed to be an imminent death in the family, hope springs eternal as new life begins (or would soon, just outside my window).

The mourning doves' dedication to their nest was fierce. Snowstorms, high winds, dark nights didn't phase them. Someone walking by to take out the trash, come and go from the car or take pictures (yeah, I did that right next to them!) didn't scare them off. But then the neighbor's lawnmower did - and when the parents left, I saw the precious babies they'd been diligently protecting. I snapped as many pictures as possible before Mom (or was it Dad) returned.

Then I waited ... and waited ... and waited. For days on end, I'd give updates to the family and call them over now and then to see how Mom/Dad stayed no matter the weather - even when the snow had weighed down the branch above the nest so that it nearly touched the head of the parent on duty. I even e-mailed updates to my mom, who happened to be here the day the nest building began and was just as impressed with my front-row seat.

I was anxiously awaiting the day the shells cracked, little chirps would be heard, and Mama bird would drop goodies into the wide-open beaks of her hungry babies. I'd catch it all on my camera, documenting the growth of the chicks through my study window.

Then yesterday, a day not any colder than many we've had during the nesting phase, Mom and Dad were nowhere to be found. All day I wondered if I'd just been missing them, if birds take off when it's time for the babies to emerge so as not to squish them yet keep watch from afar.

But time stretched on and it became clear Mom and Dad would not be returning - and no babies would be emerging from the shells. For whatever reason - and I have to assume it's natural, not that Mom and Dad just decided they weren't cut out for parenting and headed off to sunnier days and carefree lives - the eggs would not be hatching.

And I would not be witnessing a precious rite of spring from my window. Nope, now I just stare sadly at the two lone - and likely hard and cold - baby eggs outside my window, wondering what to do with them ... or if I should do anything with them at all.