Friday, 9 May 2014

Good job they nest three times a year

After the loss of the first fledged Collared Doves to the local cat now hopefully moved on with it's owners the pair nested again in a more exposed position at eye level four foot from my back window. They were diligent parents and two eggs duly hatched with two young becoming more visible by the day. I returned home last Sunday morning to the alarm calls of a Blackbird in the same tree so looking out of the kitchen door the sight of dove feathers on the ground was not a good omen. I went upstairs to the window and there being harangued by a male Blackbird just feet away was a male Sparrowhawk tucking into Sunday lunch. The adult dove must have escaped in a flurry of feathers but the young were left to the attentions of the hawk who having eaten most of the first young staggered around the poorly built nest for a while before flying off with the remains, no doubt a gift for Mrs Sparrowhawk. The remaining dead youngster was a sad sight but I left it knowing the hawk would return for seconds as it duly did some time in the afternoon.
Next day, as if nothing had happened the adults were back inspecting the nest and re-affirming their bond on the kitchen roof but a third bird now joined them presumably another male sensing an opportunity to mate. Battles ensued and today on returning home one of the birds lay dead on the drive. Cause of death unknown but I wouldn't imagine a fight between Doves would end in death so likely distracted by the chase got careless and hit something.
Third time lucky?

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