Chick rescue part 2
A pair of laughing doves nest in Sue Stovell's garden. After an attack by a fiscal shrike, their chick fell from the nest and Sue rescued it. Find out what happened next.
5.45 am Saturday, seed and bread out, baby out on the patio and me waiting and hoping. The birds started to arrive and soon the parents came down, the male dove had lost feathers on his back, from the fight I presumed. The little fellow went mad, peeping and trying to follow them, it waddled across the patio, across the lawn but they just flew away.
Again I placed it by the food, this time they came over and gave it a good look over and then a few minutes later the female started to feed it. When the parents flew off it went crazy again, so out I went, picked it up and up into the nest it went. Soon after that the dad returned, he walked around the patio, the little one called and called the dad looked up at the nest, then up he went and fed the chick.
Oh boy, was I glad that was over – well, so I thought. The next day the chick was out again. This time I was not there to help and was phoned by my son to come and look for the chick as he could not find it. On arriving home, my son said it must have fallen out recently as it had been there all morning.
I could hear the parents calling and then I heard a little peep, peep; there it was under a bush. The parents, I think, were trying to get it to go back to the nest but it was too small, it could not fly at all. Whilst I was busy ‘rescuing’ the little one, the parents sat nearby and watched, they did not fly away as I approached and were quite at ease as I picked it up and placed it yet again in the nest. It was no sooner in when the dad came and fed it.
The little dove stayed in the nest for another two weeks and then he had his maiden flight, straight into the hedge, legs one way, wings the other. I left him there for a short while, he had to learn, after all, but he fell deeper into the hedge and became stuck, so there I was on rescue mission number 3. Back to the nest, safe again. The next day he was out agai,n this time with the parents, flying from branch to branch, just as he should, happy at last.
Now for the strangest thing. Ever since that week end the male laughing dove will come and sit on the French door and call. If I am not in the lounge it will fly to the next window and the next, till he finds me, then he sits there and coos and coos. He puffs his chest up and his wings vibrate at the tips. I can walk right up to the window and he will not fly away. I acknowledge that he is there and talk to him, then I go outside and place bread and seed out for them.
I’d like to think that he knows I helped them save their chick and now feels I am really not a threat but it may just be he knows I have food and I will not hurt them. Whatever it is, he and I are good buddies now.
PS. 17 October, young bird doing well, seen with male.