Sunday, February 10, 2008

Pale Male and Lola Copulate! Doorstep Dove Shelters in a Snow Drift

THE WORD IS OUT! Pale Male and Lola have begun the gift giving and copulation phase for this year's breeding season. There's hope that the removal of those 70 some clipped pigeon spikes removed from the nest late last month will make the needed difference for a successful hatch this season.

Keep those fingers crossed!

Sunset: 5:19PM
Civil Twilight: 5:48PM
Temperature: -2F
Wind Chill: -14F
Overnight winds of 40MPH
Heavily drifted snow
Snow warning starting 3PM 2/11/08 to following afternoon

5:11PM Doorstep Dove perched in Maple Tree. Vigilant. No other birds in sight currently and there haven't been all day. There are no squirrel tracks in the snow. They have spent the last 24 hours in their nests and cavities. No rabbit or Oppossum sightings or tracks for two days.

5:12:18PM Sun is almost gone.

6:31PM Doorstep discovered sheltering between two mini-drifts with a 3 ft. drift above her to the NW, overdrifted picnic table to SW, barrel planter to her tail, and the house to the SE. Juncos have been known to overnight in snow depressions but I've not seen doves do it.

6:31:18PM She isn't eating. She's sitting with her feathers puffed for warmth and has them fluffed over her feet. If you look carefully, you'll see that the top of her beak has slightly overgrown the bottom portion.

5:32:27PM Still in the same position.
5:40PM Doorstep has moved slightly from her protected spot and is eating seed in the snow.
6:10PM Doorstep no longer in feeding area.
10:27PM Blaze the Bunny discovered in feeding area eating seed and frozen lettuce that has been left out for the night feeding herbivores.

(To access the most recent posts, click on Palemaleirregulars at the top of the page)

Donegal Browne


Karen Anne said...

What's with two doves with overgrown beaks... How hampering is this? Does some behavior normally pare down the beaks?

Donegal Browne said...

Bird's beaks like horse's hoofs and rodent's teeth keep growing all the time in the evolutionary expectation that because of species activity that those portions will wear down.

My thought about the dove beaks at least, those just slightly overgrown, is that because of all the snow Wisconsin has received this winter that the dove's beaks aren't being worn down in the usual way.

Instead of foraging for seed and grit for their crops from the frozen ground periodically, the birds are either eating seeds off the plants directly or eating it off of soft snow. The snowfalls this winter have been so frequent this winter that seldom does the snow have a chance to develop a crust "hard" enough it seems to put much wear on the dove's beaks.

As to what the birds are doing for digestive grit, I've seen them going for the sand that has been put on snow to improve car traction. These places obviously have snow under the sand so once again the beaks are striking snow instead of frozen ground or pavement.

A terrifically overgrown beak can make foraging difficult but even the dove with the crossed beak currently seems to be doing fine in getting enough to eat.