The former owner of the farm loved to tell the story of how the coos of mourning doves would awaken him in the morning and put him to sleep at night. His stories left out the detail of where their nests were located, so I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered a mourning dove nesting on the top of a large brick column that supports the front porch of the farmhouse.
Momma dove picked the northwest corner of the front porch for her first brood. Every morning, when I would open the blinds to my bedroom, I would grab my binoculars to check out the nest. It wasn’t until the babies were rather large that I finally got a peep of them. Usually I only saw her on the nest, so much so that I thought for a while that maybe her babies had died or the eggs had failed to hatch. But they were there, just always behind or under momma. Near the end of their time in the nest I got to see them frequently, because by then, even momma dove would leave them and look for food.
After her first two babies left sometime in early June, momma dove left the front porch for a few weeks. She came back in early August for her second brood of the summer. This time she took up residence in the northeast corner of the front porch, such that she was right next to my bedroom windows. And the stories that the former owner would tell now make sense, as I routinely here her haunting cries throughout the day and into the evening.
A few days ago, I went to show my father the new nest, and instead of momma, there were two more babies, sitting quietly. Our movement startled them, and they both flew off. That was the first and last time I saw that pair of babies.
It is now middle of August, and I still see and hear both parents in the front yard. It appears they may have a third brood. Momma dove has settled into the northeast nest again, and daddy dove was courting her with his coos this morning.