Thursday, February 07, 2008

Doorstep Dove, Friend, and the Bath

1:02:30PM Doorstep, left, and Friend, right, discovered on the bird bath. Have they actually taken a bath in below freezing weather? The snow is most of the way up the pedestal of the bird bath.

1:03:13PM Doorstep turns, notices the human,and pauses.

1:03:07PM She gives me "the look" and Friend dozes off.

Doorstep takes over and does the 360 degree anti-hawk attack vigil while Friend sleeps. Take note of Friend's beak. At first I thought it was just some feather bits from preening, but that turns out not to be the case.

At least I think it's Friend. It certainly looks like him. This bird's beak looks to have overgrown. Something quite unusual for a bird that forages in the wild. It does happen in the case of some caged birds. Or is this bird one of last summer's chicks that had a birth defect that I never noticed. Unlikely.
Now I haven't had a close look at Friend for months. In fact there was quite a while in which Doorstep was the only Dove brave enough to beard the hawk to go to the feeding area for quite sometime. Why would Friend's beak suddenly overgrow? The last I saw the two together in a place where I could actually get a close look, I never saw Friend's head as he was scrunched up beside the patio step eating.
Did Friend get eaten by the hawk, and Doorstep bonded anew with a male that looks just like him except for the odd beak?

1:06:30PM The wind gusts and Doorstep suddenly looks rather like a beige Cardinal or a Titmouse.

1:14:10PM Eventually Doorstep, her back now turned to the house, comes over next to Friend, who wakes for a moment. He checks things out.

1:14:50PM Then he goes back to sleep. I've begun to worry that perhaps he's developed a virus that is impacting his health he's stayed ruffled and asleep for so long in that exposed spot. Some viruses do impact the integrity of bird's beaks, but I'm not familiar with this effect from a virus.

1:16:25PM They both look my way. Then Doorstep flew to the feeding area and Friend to the Maple tree. I suspect that as the bird bath has an electric warmer in the water to keep it liquid, that the bowl itself is comparatively warm next to the feel of the rest of the environment and dandy for napping.
I know for sure that the left hand bird was Doorstep, not only by her looks, but also because when she flew to the feeding area, she looked straight at me and bobbed her head. (We play a bobbing head game, which I haven't mentioned as to not seem completely and totally mad.) I then bobbed my head, she kept looking at me and bobbed hers, I bobbed mine. Then with a last bob, she got down to serious eating.

5:32:17PM Later in the day when Butch appeared and stared at me. I tried bobbing at him. He didn't bob back, being Junco's aren't much for bobbing, but he did seem to enjoy watching me make a spectacle of myself.
(To access the most recent posts, click on Palemaleirregulars at the top of the page.)
Donegal Browne

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