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.

Commitment and Moving On

They mate for life. I didn’t know. But this morning I saw them sitting, huddled side by side in The Naked Tree in the pouring rain, and I wondered. They were just sitting there, as though taking a shower together was nothing out of the ordinary, a daily routine. 

So I Googled Mourning Doves and sure enough. Partners for life. They share nest sitting duties while their two white eggs mature. They lay twice in the spring. If one is killed the other will stay at the site for days…mourning.

After the rain subsided they remained in The Tree, fluffing, preening, grooming each other, cooing softly all the while. Sometimes I see one of them sitting among the frangipani blossoms, calling and calling. An answering refrain comes from the rooftop next door and within moments they swoop together into the tree at the other side of my balcony which I suspect has become their new residence. A rustling and shaking of fearsome proportions ensues as they do what doves do in the privacy of their own home!

Ketut assures me that he will find a saw and remove the unsightly tree skeleton from my view. His hatchets weren’t up to the task but we agreed that a saw would do the trick. Now it’s a matter of finding one…all in good time…Bali time…rubber time. I think it will help the doves move on. It might help me, too.

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