My sister asked me yesterday if I quit my blog. I told her, no, I’ve just been lazy and unmotivated. So since she asked, and my kids are in camp all this week and Steve’s in London (don’t want to sit and worry about that) and it’s me and my mother-in-law hanging out all day, I thought I’d tell you about our battle with the mourning doves.
About a month ago, we bought two hanging baskets full of petunias at Home Depot to put on the little hooks outside our front door. They were about $15 each and were really pretty. We hung them up and they looked nice and welcoming. A few days later, we noticed a mourning dove sitting in one of the baskets. We knew they were going to make a nest and so we shooed it out.
It came back. Steve shooed it out again and came back with some netting I use to keep birds out of my strawberry patch. That would take care of it. We came out the next day and that sucker had crawled up under the netting and was sitting inside the basket.
We shooed it out.
It came back.
I said, “Just forget it. We’ll give the thing a $15 nest.” So we let the bird lay her eggs, sit on them, and let them hatch. Two baby mourning doves popped out.
As you can see, they killed all the flowers.
Then we had a really hot spell – mid-90s for a week. I went out and that poor mama mourning dove was shaking and making weird movements in the direct hot, 90+ degree sun. I felt bad for it and the babies. Now that I’d given up on the hanging basket and all the flowers were completely dead, I was concerned about the birds. Not realizing that maybe this was the mama’s way of protecting herself from the heat, I thought, those poor birds need some shade. How could I give them some shade? They were pretty high up, I couldn’t see into the basket if I stepped down off our porch. So I did what I probably shouldn’t have done. I went and got something to see if I could cover them. I got a saucer sled that I thought would block the sun. I put it up, blocking the sun and that mama bird and one of the baby birds flew right out of the nest. I scared the crap out of them.
Well, the baby bird could fly, so I thought, I’ll just get something like a coat to hang on the hook and they’ll fly back to the shaded nest. So I got Autumn’s raincoat. When I hung it up, the other baby bird flew right at my head and then around me toward the street. I left the coat there and waited for them to come back. They didn’t come back. One baby bird flew up the street and the other flew under my mother-in-law’s car. Great.
I watched as the mama walked her one baby back. I realized the babies weren’t actually ready to fly. Gah! I’m probably killing the poor things! I took the hanging basket down and put it on the ground, hoping they’d hop back in. No. I came out the next day and they were sitting with their parents on the brick walk, a few feet away from the basket. So I just hung the basket back up. At least the birds were still alive.
The next day, I went around the side of the house to water my garden and noticed an adult mourning dove sitting in the small sumac tree at the corner of our house. I looked down on the ground and the two baby birds were under the tree. That adult bird never took it’s eye off me. The birds stayed under the tree, walking in the opposite direction of me, every time I came around the corner.
One day, the neighbor’s cat got out. It always goes in our bushes, right where the baby birds were. Crap. What if the cat got the birds? The neighbors found the cat, but there were no birds around. I thought, I hope the cat didn’t kill the birds. I hope they got away.
A few hours later, I went out, the birds were under the tree again. I was feeling bad because I had scared them out of their $15 nest. But at least they were cooler under the tree, in the shade. And they were alive.
A few days past and we eventually saw the baby birds begin to fly. Yay! They survived! I thought, now might be a good time to go out and replace my dead hanging basket. So this morning, I went out to Meijer and bought a new basket of petunias.
I came inside and started working on the computer when my mother-in-law called up to me. “I think there’s a mourning dove in your hanging basket.”
I went out there and sure enough, a stinking mourning dove was back in our brand new basket. I’d only had it for an hour! There was one perched on the hook and another inside the flowers.
I went to shoo them out and got pretty close. The lookout bird on the hook flew away quickly, but the one inside didn’t budge. I got closer. Finally there was a bunch of flapping and feathers and it was like a scene from the movie, The Birds, I was waiting for it to get tangled in my hair and draw blood. But it flew the other direction as I covered my head. I took the basket off the hook and figured we’ll just have to keep the basket on the wall next to our walk. I think that’s too low for them to nest in.
I went in and texted Steve, he wouldn’t believe this.
And that’s where we are. We’ll see if they’re brave enough to nest in the basket while it’s on the low wall. I hope not. But who knows? They love those $15 nests.
Have you ever had a battle with animals in your yard?
Update: After I wrote this yesterday the wind got really bad and knocked the hanging plant off the wall, so I went out and put it upright on our brick walk. I went out to water my garden this morning and found a freaking rabbit chewing on the petunias in the hanging basket! Gah!!!