Mr. and Mrs. D. and The Acceptable Tree

I’ve introduced you to Mr. and Mrs. M. Dove. You know the grim saga of The Naked Tree. You also know that Mr. had proudly presented my Bougainvillea bush as a hopeful nesting site and was promptly put in his place by Mrs. D. I’ve since learned that in dove etiquette, the male is always the one who scouts out potential home sites. Whether or not they suffice is a decision that is exclusively up to the Mrs.

At this point you have probably discerned my fascination with the lifestyle and habits of my busy neighbors. The thing is, perched here in the treetops with them, I am privy to the most intimate details of their lives. It is impossible not to watch, and marvel, and wonder.

The other day I was minding my own business (for a change) when I heard the sound of wings flapping loudly and wildly. It was Mr. Dove. Oh no! What terrible injury has that poor bird sustained. Doves can fly soundlessly from tree to rooftop and soar so softly you would never know they were there if you didn’t look up. So what had happened to my feathered friend. I peered into the branches of The Acceptable Tree home that Mr. and Mrs. now share and where his ungainly flight had terminated. Although he had executed a safe landing, the wild flapping hadn’t stopped, and the leaves and branches were shaking furiously. Trying to be discreet, I peeked cautiously from behind my bamboo shade. I caught a glimpse of the two of them in a sort of dove love dance.  After a few moments they flew off quietly together. Hmmm.

A short while later I heard the uncoordinated flapping again. This time Mr. joined Mrs. on a nearby rooftop. He had more or less landed on her back! There was a flustered moment when the two struggled for balance, but after that Mrs. didn’t seem to mind. It lasted only a few minutes, then they were side by side grooming each other with meticulous care. Since then I’ve heard the crazy flapping many times and it always precedes a visit to a special lady. When there’s no female to impress the flight is soundless.

After consulting Google and Wikipedia I learned that, in warm climates like Bali, mating is pretty much a year-round activity. Doves tend to reproduce about six times a year and that requires a whole lot of flapping and cooing! The soft, soothing coo, I’ve discovered, is a mating call and is exclusive to males. Sometimes Mr. D puffs out his chest feathers, too. They are shameless attention grabbers! But all that flirtation and affection obviously pays off. There is a handsome dove population here in my garden! Like the Balinese, extended family seems to be a valued way of life.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Lottie Nevin
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 06:30:52

    I am loving your stories about Mr. and Mrs. M. Dove –

    Todays story is especially poignant for me as I went to see a new apartment this morning which I’ve just written about on my blog. This line you wrote is spot on!

    ‘I’ve since learned that in dove etiquette, the male is always the one who scouts out potential home sites. Whether or not they suffice is a decision that is exclusively up to the Mrs.’

    My Mother kept white fantail doves. We lived in a timber framed house dating from tudor times in Suffolk (England) and it had the most impressive dove cote. Every morning of my chlldhood I would wake to the sound of doves cooing – I think it is one of my most favourite sounds in the world.

    Sherry, see how happy your posts make me! Thank you.



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