My neighbor, Paul, found a mourning dove’s nest in a planter on his front porch. Soon there were two eggs in it, and not long afterward, the mourning dove had two babies. The mother now sits on the babies, as she did the eggs, and Paul took me up to his porch yesterday to see them.
“That’s the bird that goes woo-ooo hooo hooo —-every goddamned morning?” I asked.
“Yes, that’s them,” he said.
“Why I oughta—“ I said, raising my arms in the air in mock anger.
“Hey! Hey! You’re going to scare her!” Paul said.
We stood there and talked some more, about mourning doves and their habits, and when he told me there were actually two babies under the mother, I moved in closer to try and see the second bird.
“What’s that?!” I said, pointing to some furry bits under the mother’s belly. I could see the one baby, but then to the left of it were some bits of feather and fur that seemed to be attached to the mother’s body.
“Careful,” Paul said. “You’re getting too close.”
I backed off and pointed from farther away. “That, there. What’s that?”
“I think that’s the wing of the baby she’s sitting on,” Paul said.
“Hmmm,” I said.
The conversation soon wound down, and I started to leave.
“Look at her. She’s starting to relax. Her wing’s not shaking anymore,” Paul said. “You made her nervous.”
I obviously have a lot to learn, though I couldn’t tell if it was about motherhood or mourning doves –or Paul. Either way, I left with a familiar feeling, of being a pariah.