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Friday, 31 July 2009

Nine to Five

By Lyn Burnstine of The Lynamber Times

At 9AM. the female mourning dove begins calling in her gentle cooing voice. Within minutes, her mate obligingly flies in to take his nine-to-five shift at incubating their eggs. She is raring to go, and takes off before he’s even settled into the nest. At 5PM, she responds to his call and flies back to release him from his long, boring day.

I never thought about how monotonous a bird’s life must be, for those two weeks or so of hatching a brood of chicks, until this pair of doves nested on my neighbor’s air conditioner in plain view of my living room window.

No matter when I look out, there one or the other sits glassy-eyed and stone-still. I speak to them often and sometimes even warble a few notes. My neighbors have noisy visitors much of the time, to the distress of the other human residents. Their voices come through the open slots in their air conditioner where the birds sit. Perhaps my sounds and the neighbors are a source of entertainment for the doves. Especially the music, I would guess.

I think back to my own numerous gestational times: I remember morning sickness, backaches, heartburn and swollen feet, but at least I could get up, move around, drink and eat at will. I didn’t have to fulfill my biological destiny by sitting on eggs.

On the other hand, those birds don’t have kids around for thirty years before the last one is fledged!

[EDITORIAL NOTE: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:35 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Well put. I bet it felt like an eternity to those nesting parents.

We had a nest of baby robins we watched with much delight. The last little robin was so hesitant about leaving the nest that you could see the frustration exhibited by his/her parents.
The little robin would go to the end of the platform where the nest was located, flutter his little wings, look all around, then sit down and hope someone would bring him a bite to eat. This went on for about three days.
The scolding sound of his parents got louder, as did the human cheering team who told him he was gonna love living in the trees, come on little guy, you can do it!
At the end of the last day, just as evening was getting it's most serious we looked once more, and he was gone.

You sometimes wonder what goes on in those little bird brains. It's interesting to watch the drama of a bird family.

About a month ago I opened my front door and there were about ten baby birds congregated on the sidewalk. Surely they didn't come from the same nest, although they were obviously of the same age and species. It looked like a group of toddlers at the playground.

I ran to get my camera and just as I was focusing, a blasted human walked by and scared them away.

Lyn - On an island in front of our house in Maine we have had an osprey nest for the past 11 years. Presumably, the same pair return from the Amazon each April and set up shop. For the first 6 or 7 years they produced a normal crop of fledglings. But for the last 4 years it has been one disaster after another. One year a wild storm destroyed the nest and its contents. Another year a bald eagle tore the nest and the fledglings to smitherines. Last year, every thing seemed normal but no fledglings ever appeared. This June I think they drowned as we had one downpour after another.

I particularly liked your, "these birds don't have kids around for thirty years before the last one has fledged." We feel the same way after our oldest son (now a recovering drug addict and alcoholic)finally fledged at 40! - Sandy

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