Thursday, March 20, 2003

Sometime before 7 am this morning I suddenly woke up. I had left the TV on (CNN) but another sound grabbed my attention quickly - one of the mourning doves was frantically flying around my bedroom! It flew into a wall, then briefly perched on a picture frame; I got out of the bed, which seemed to scare it more, it flew around the room again, landing on the frame once more. I saw bird crap on the floor, and tiny feathers everywhere, but rather than worry about that, I quickly went to the window to open it, to guide it out. It flew over at me before I was able to get out of the way, but flew right into the glass, then back to the other side of the room. I flung the window open as far as I could, then tried to duck out of the way, but she flew back towards the top, not at the opening, but into the glass fast and hard. This time she fell, and landed on the bed. I was on the other side of the bed, a few feet away, we stared at each other. Her wing looked all disjointed, she didn't move. I could hear the sound of a crow in the near distance, perhaps that's what scared her and caused her to come inside (I actually don't know if this was the male or female, as both take turns sitting on the nest, in shifts, about 8 hours apart usually). Her frail body tried to move, but couldn't, one wing spread out, her eyes staying focused on me. We sat in silence for the longest time, looking at each other. I wondered about the egg (I managed to take a picture the other day, during the "shift change"), and climbed up to look in the nest. No egg, but then I noticed the chick, scrawny and greyish brown, not moving. Awww crap! But then it moved ever-so-slightly, and I thought it was best to move away and not worry the parent watching from the bed. She still hadn't moved, and as I sat down on the far end of the bed, I saw her eyes close. They weakly opened again, then shut, and it looked like she was struggling. I started to sob, thinking I had been selfish to keep that part of the window open so I could watch them, and then causing it to fly inside.

After a few more moments, she tried to move, and I got up. This startled her, her wings flapped wildly, and she fell off the bed, into a small 10-inch wide space between the bed and the window sill. Oh shit, how do I get an injured bird out of there? Each time I got near, her wings flapped violently - so I left her alone for awhile. I put some coffee on, and hoped the other parent would arrive and sit in the nest at least, as I didn't think this one would make it. I have this huge platform bed, and any attempt to get near her would freak her out as she is now in this small enclosed space. So I tried to move the bed, slowly, inch by inch pulling it away from the window. When I looked over into the spot, she was perfectly still, sitting on the radiator valve, which must've been warm. No movement for the longest time, I couldn't tell if she was alive even. I struggled with the bed some more (pulling was the only way from this angle, and it wasn't easy) but at least I made a wider space, the light got in there, and it didn't look quite so scarey down there. I leaned against the wall, close enough to watch, but far enough so she'd see a way out. I found myself mumbling "c'mon Birdie, get up, get out of there" and I tried to get a closer look, to see if she was alive. Again I startled her, but it got her off the radiator valve and onto the floor. Within a few minutes she was pacing in the small space, looking around, up, sideways, at me, at the bed, at the wall; pacing back and forth. It seemed like she was trying to figure this out, and I continued "c'mon Birdie, get up, get out of there" - when I realized how Nicolas Cage I sounded, I had a brief giggle, then I started tapping on the windowsill to get it's attention to look up. She actually seemed to watch me, but I figured she wouldn't want to get near me. I left the room for a minute to refill the coffee, and I heard her wings flap. When I got back in, she had managed to hop up on the bed's platform, a mere 6 inches up, but it was a start. I still couldn't tell if she could fly, but at least she was moving. I did more windowsill tapping, and used the cardboard in the other hand to kind of keep her from thinking about going back into the apartment. I could hear other birds outside chirping, and she seemed to focus more on that direction, and kept moving her head around in various directions, as if she were still figuring this out. Over an hour had passed since she had woken me up, and then suddenly she leapt up, flew up, actually - briefly landed on the windowsill, then out to the fire escape! I got up to watch, and within a few short seconds, she soared away, to a nearby tree, and when she landed on a branch, I could see another mourning dove join her there. Oh gosh, she could fly, she's ok.

Then I wondered about the chick, and if the parents would come back. I climbed up to look in the nest, no movement, a perfectly still little ugly body. Then I thought I saw a slight movement, and thought it best to stay clear, in case the doves decide to come back, I shouldn't be anywhere near the nest. I'm still worried about the chick, but was so f*%kin' relieved that I didn't have a dead dove on my bed! I climbed under the covers, put the TV on, and fell asleep to the awful sounds of "newsmen" sounding like they were analyzing a football game. Sometime later I awoke to a distinctive sound, the sound of a dove flying (seriously, I've gotten quite used to recognizing that sound), and when I looked up, I could see the other parent return to the nest! Tentative at first, eyeing me closely, then moving in tight circles around the nest, trying to find a good sitting position like a dog would. I got up to check email, look at Internet news stories, and soon enough, the other returned to the nest as well. The pair stayed there only briefly together, then one flew off, leaving the other to do it's shift