Monday, October 12, 2009

Turtle Dove


Turtle Dove Nest

My Beloved
came home from work
and said
I must go to the office
Son #1 rang
and said
I must bring my camera to the office...

And so
I went down to the office
and looked
out the kitchen window
and saw this fallen palm bract
lodged in the golden cane palm


and on top of a few twigs
in the curved end of the bract
two pure white eggs


sitting precariously


if the wind should blow
the bract may dislodge
and the makeshift nest
would be no more


and that would be a loss


to mother Turtle Dove
an introduced dove
from India and Malaysia
who is displacing the native doves


Streptolepia chinensis
is 28-32 cm long
and has a white spotted patch
on the hind neck


She has a purplish grey head
and brown grey body


and does not like me
watching her

But watch her quietly
I will on occasion
until I see
what eventuates...


A week later
my son alerts me

 to an anxious looking
Mother Turtle Dove


the nest has slipped
the wind has been blowing
with the rain
and the palm frond
is on a tilt
and part of the nest
has fallen away


but two baby turtle doves
cling on
huddled together
I could see their tiny bodies
rise and fall
with their breathing

I hope you remain safe
little chicks
and grow to see the world...



  1. I love and collect nests-- some bought and some found abandoned in my gardens-- you really get amazing pictures. Also, thank you for all your suggestions on my trip to Kyoto-- very helpful-- I am writing them all down.

  2. Hi Delwyn

    Dramatic photo-story and warm commentary. Do keep us up-to-date with developments.

  3. Hi Donna

    It is a pleasure..if you have any questions just email me...I have been to Kyoto 4 times. Last time I had over a week exploring the town and surrounds.
    Another thing I would also recommend is the Fushimi Inari Torri - the hundreds of red Torri are amazing to see. Only two stops on the Nara line to Fushimi and follow the signs.

    Happy days

  4. Hi Martin

    I have just returned from the office where the mother is hovering over her chicks, still safe. One of the chicks poked her head around the mother and I snapped her...for a later post...

    Happy days

  5. Delwyn

    Thank you for sharing a beautiful story and wonderful pictures! The face on the mother dove tells it all--only if she could talk.

    Tracy :)

  6. Hi Tracy

    We cannot tell if there is another parent, or if she raises the young alone...but she is a little anxious when we come over to watch...

    Happy days

  7. Delwyn, this was like watching a film, except it's real and therefore so much more nerve-wracking. Fabulous post, I am anxious for a happy ending, even though they are an introduced species.

  8. Oh Delwyn...I just want to go place a sling around or a prop under them...that once fine and delicate looking nest now looks sadly weak and fragile...I hope they survive.


  9. Delwyn: The mother dove is probably afraid to shelter them or warm them with her body, for fear her weight will bring down the nest. Life can be a struggle for all species! I know you will keep us posted on how all three are doing.

    I think you are quietly, imperceptibly becoming a representation in my mind of 'mother earth' checking in on
    all matter of beauty, life, wonder and awe on planet earth. Just as she, you observe, love, appreciate but do not (generally) directly interfere with life's on-going process. Anyway, all that to say I so appreciate what you do and the quiet reverence with which you do it. Don't worry - I will not start addressing you as 'mother earth' . . . well, maybe now and then . . .

    I send you a big hug! ((( ! )))

  10. Charming photos, Delwyn. Doves are specially beautiful, I think.

  11. Now I keep thinking of that Christmas song, 12 days of Christmas. "two turtle doves" and a
    partridge in a pear tree.
    I hope the babies survive and flourish under her care. They are little balls of cute fluff. Thanks for sharing this tale.

  12. Ah, another fine example of the precarious nature of life on earth. So many would just pass by and not see what you see, or see and not care. You are so special to me because you see, you care, and you show us all what you have seen. I think Bonnie is right, you are becoming our "mother earth."

  13. I love the dove's neckband but her nest placement leaves something to be desired. Sometimes, I want to interfere with nature to try to 'help' but I know that I can't. So, like you, I just watch and wait. My fingers are crossed.

    BTW, your question about which trees exemplify a person's four main traits has been on my mind since you posted it. It's a very tough question...

  14. A beautiful post and you are wise to keep a distance letting nature take it's course. In this case anyway.

  15. I am so enjoying your gentle words and photographs about the world around you. The bug with the turquoise face is beautiful.

  16. How delightful! I love the things you find in your world.

    The baby birds look pretty big in the photos!

  17. Your pictures are wonderful, and those birdies adorable! I love nests- that is incredible! Thanks for sharing,

  18. Hi Titus

    It is nearly 7am and it has been raining and blowing hard in the night...My husband woke earlier and the first thing he said was...I hope the chickies are OK...

    Happy days

  19. Hi Wanda

    the nest is high in the palm- the office is on the second level of the building so when we look at her we are only 1m away but to touch the nest would result in further destruction I am sure...

    I will keep you posted..

    Happy days

  20. Hi Bonnie

    one of the parents was huddled over them yesterday but it looked rather uncomfortable. She has so lie up on then as the nest is now on an angle...

    thanks for the tag...I hope I can honour it...really I am just an observer and appreciator of wonder....

    Happy days

  21. Hi GW

    doves are soothing soft creatures...I love their mellow croo croo...

    Happy days

  22. Hi Rosey

    I have to admit I keep getting that line in my head too...and when I was a kid I didn't know what the turtle dove was...I can't remember them in NZ...

    Happy days

  23. Oh - first the plover loss and now this... I surely hope the nest holds. Nature is sometimes treacherous.

  24. I was and still am holding my breath! Don't you just wish you could reach out, rearrange and make all safe? Do let us know what happens...great pictures!

  25. That was a cliffhanger, Delwyn! Perfectly told tale! I was so afraid! I am so thankful that the babies had already hatched before the nest split. The dove is so beautiful. i love her necklace of pearls and iridescent plumage. xxox

  26. Hi there Angela

    Oh thanks Angela...maybe I am a Mother Earth Watcher...

    Happy days

  27. Hello KB

    I'm glad you have been mulling over the four trees. It is a good exercise in self awareness and taking stock of one's life...

    Happy days

  28. Hi Lori ann

    Intervention is a tricky one isn't it...people help stranded whales, they nurse possum babies, and tend diseased koalas...where do you draw the line...should we attempt to straighten a nest???

    In this case I think it would fall it touched...

    Happy days

  29. Hello Joanna

    there is so much we can miss when we are moving through the day...I now have the time to stop and watch...

    Happy days

  30. Hi Amy

    The chicks would be a few days old...the parents are quite rotund I think the chicks may be 2.5 - 3 " long - the eggs were quite large too...

    Happy days

  31. Hi Ellen

    this one proves your theory...

    Happy days

  32. Hello Monica

    We have a few nest lovers amongst us...I wonder what Freud would say about that...

    Happy days

  33. Hi Barb

    You know that plover family is on its 3rd round of eggs and incubation!!! at the same spot in the park...I didn't see any of the 2nd round hatch out...something got them...

    Happy days

  34. Hi Alicia

    even if I could reach it it would fall I thinks and also the parents may never return to care for their young ...

    A couple of days later I saw the chicks being warmed by mother, huddling over them...on a slant...

    Happy days

  35. Hello Margaret

    The turtle dove is a sweet looking and sweet sounding bird...

    It is really windy today Margaret...

    cross your fingers...

    Happy days

  36. oh how I hope they ended up being safe and sound...I love doves of any kind...

    we have watched morning doves raise their babies and what an amazing site it is, as mommy and daddy are both very hands on parents....

  37. Hi Beth
    It was windy last night and all morning today so I am scared to ask how they are doing...

    We wondered if there were two parents involved in the incubation and caring of the chicks and the info says yes and I even think these two adults in my pics look different...

    Happy days


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