Thursday, May 25, 2006

It's never that easy

So, there I was, chirping along that doves had come to nest in our doorway. Peace had fluttered in and settled in a silly place....

Last night I got home late, the kids had been up late too and were just in bed (the lights on in their rooms). As I came up the path... I saw feathers.

In that instant, I knew some animal--probably a cat--had been into the nest. I looked more closely; there were a fair number of large feathers and some fluff. It didn't look good. I peeked at the nest, and in the half light could see more fluff hanging on a bit of dead grass sticking up from the nest... and nothing. The nest was empty.

I was crushed, and I knew that our sons would be too. I knew my younger son would be just devastated... and that he'd be on himself because he's befriended one of the cats that cruises through our yard. No, he's more or less tried to befriend every cat that does. He's not alone in that, we're on good neighbor terms with all the cats that wander through and those that come calling. But I knew he'd focus on the fact he'd been friendly with a nice, fluffy cat that's been around lately....

I chose to say nothing to them last night; the trauma and angst would be a lousy way to end the day, and he'd probably have lost sleep, too. And there was nothing to do about it. It was bad news that could wait.

So after my wife went to bed, I kind of mulled over my own stupidity in adopting the doves as some sort of mythic symbol, peace come to roost... and the grimness of it being butchered there. (How apt. How often peace does settle in and then some self-centered cat comes along and makes a snack of it?)

I told my wife she could just make a break for it in the morning; I'd deal with the boys, the trauma. Go on, flee; it's ok, I'll deal with it.

But she didn't get away before my son went out to check on the doves. (thud)

So when he called for her from the front entry, we knew...

I followed her out, all primed to talk about it... nature... and he seemed sad, but calm, and started to talk about how it was probably the cat that he'd been visiting with, that had been around. His brother trooped out, having heard the hubbub, to see.

He's now as tall as I am, so he just peered into the nest--and spotted still there, the color of the potting soil and dry grasses of the nest, a remaining chick. Alive, unharmed.

Well, we couldn't leave it there.

We'd researched, and we knew that doves share sitting on a nest, so there was probably still a parent around--but it hadn't been there last night, and wasn't there now. It seemed quite likely that it's been scared off, and with all the evidence of feathers... not likely to return.

So we're fostering a dove. Feeding, every half hour. Messy thing, peace.

It's not something that just descends upon you and settles in the dooryard. No, you have to tend it with an eyedropper, every half-hour.

1 comment:

Annie said...

Great story - I found a hairless creature no bigger than my thumb underneath my tree. It looked alien and not sure what it was, I scooped it up with a bath towel and called the local vet. Found out is was a baby squirrel. I hear you about feeding it every half hour. I had to bring the thing to work with me until I could find an animal rescue mission to take it in. Good luck with you dove - I hope it brings the peace you seek.