We've been having a great time the past few weeks watching the family of doves that has roosted on top of the playroom AC unit.
The kids always want me to hold them up to look at the nest and we talk about what it's made of (sticks) and how the mama keeps the eggs warm and all that fun stuff. This week they hatched! There are two little babies and they are so cute. The daddy of this species gets involved too, so we've been doing a lot of running commentary as they tag team in and out. "Oh look! I bet the mommy has to go potty, or maybe take a nap! Do you think the daddy will watch tv with the babies while mommy's gone, or do you think they'll do some coloring?" He even makes milk. Who knew?
Yesterday my niece and nephews came to visit and so I held my four year old nephew up to see the birds. He was Highly Suspicious.
"Is that the mama bird?"
"Yes, and see, there are the babies behind her, aren't they cute? How many do you see?"
"I don't know five I guess. She looks like she's going to peck us."
"What? No, she won't peck us. We're being slow and careful and she's pretty used to us."
"mmhmm. What about NOW? Is NOW when she's going to peck?"
Apparently my sister has really talked up having respect for wild animals and keeping distance, and he was just sure that any second that mama would fly in our faces and go to town with the pecking. The look on his face still cracks me up every time I think about it.
Later that afternoon, after they went home, we went back outside and only one baby was in the nest. Snow White and Ariel found the other one sitting in the grass against the fence looking terrified. Of course they wanted to get very close to it and ended up chasing it into a corner.
The mama and daddy were both sitting on the top of the fence just staring at us and quivering as we got closer to their baby. I figured if there ever WAS a time they might peck us, this would be it. Poor baby stuck on the ground, at the mercy of curious three year old fingers? I'd be thinking of doing some pecking if I was that mama for sure. Yes, NOW! NOW is the time they will peck! Back away!
I corralled all the kids and made them stay on the other side of the yard for awhile, and the parents were able to get their baby to hop up onto the fence and into the bushes. I haven't seen him back in the nest yet, and I hope he's okay. At least we're learning to keep a healthy distance and have respect for animals. You know, just in case they peck. :)