Sunday, April 23, 2006

Sad realism : Mourning Dove nest update.

On Friday, before we went out for the evening, I checked on the Mourning Dove nest. All was quiet and one of the doves was on the nest.

Saturday morning there was no dove sitting on the nest. I waited for quite a while before checking, hoping she’d be back, even though it’s unusual for a nest to be left untended. When she didn’t return, I went outside. I could see one egg balanced on the branch.

Later, a cactus wren flew on to the nest and began feeding on something. It didn’t touch the egg on the branch, but it’s possible there was another egg in the nest, since Mourning Doves usually lay two. Later in the day, the egg on the branch was gone. There was no evidence beneath the tree that an egg had dropped; nor was there any sign of violence around the nest that I could spot with my binoculars. The structure of the nest was undisturbed.

The mesquite tree still hosts an abundance of bird life. Several pairs of House Finches have been flying in and out and making a terrible racket when they get into a territorial spat with the House Sparrows. In addition there are the usual suspects: Northern Mockingbirds, White-winged Doves, Curve-Billed Thrashers, Gila Woodpeckers and Cactus Wrens show up regularly. I’ve also seen the brilliant yellow of what I believe is a Wilson’s warbler flitting through the branches - too quick for my unpracticed focusing reaction, but delightful none the less. Here it is (a bit fuzzy) ...


9 comments:

Jimmy said...

It is sad, but things like that happen all the time...I lost a chickadee family to cats...

T. Beth said...

Poor doves, they do seem to be a favorite target for everyone's predation.

In my yard, nest-raiding Rock Squirrels are a major cause of nest failures in trees (they avoid nests in cacti).

Rexroth's Daughter said...

How very sad. Every nest always starts out filled with so much hope and promise. We watch the crows raid the nests around here.

Endment said...

The more I watch the animals and birds the more I realize what a challenge life is.

Pam in Tucson said...

jimmy, t.beth, rd, endment - Quite sad, but part of the reality. I wonder what happened to the dove(s?). They have such a challenge just surviving - so vulnerable.

cpbvk said...

What a disappointment! It ain't easy being a bird. In Tucson, though, I'm sure there's plenty of time left for a second clutch.

Pam in Tucson said...

cpbvk - I do know that doves will attempt three or four clutches a year, because the survival rate is so low for them. I just wonder if something happened to one of the parents.

TDharma said...

Pam, such is nature, eh?

A colleague told me today about a whale watching boat trip off so. California coast, where the tourists were 'treated' to watching a grey whale mom and her calf be devoured by killer whales, right up next to the boat. The cow had pushed her baby against the boat in a vain attempt to save it.

Nature. Hmph.

Pam in Tucson said...

tdharma - Some of the realities are pretty horrific. We're sad for the gray whales, but orcas just do what orcas do. Wish the food chains and territorial demands could be worked out without causing hurt, but that doesn't seem to be how this planet's put together. [I'm not including humans - that's another deal altogether, and I'm not inclined to rant this evening.]