You might remember my post on turtle spotted doves (kopou) from last year “Lovey Dovey”. This post is a kind of a sequel to that one. Well, the doves I wrote about earlier, did not stay long in their prospective nest behind my kitchen’s exhaust fan. I don’t know why. May be they found it too noisy and bright after dark, thanks to my dinner making process. But I did see the lovely couple with their little kid after a couple of months.
Since all these doves almost look identical to me, I don’t know whether the dove couple fooling around in my balcony later were same or the other. I have always seen these doves moving around in pairs. Very romantic I must say.
Last year, one kopou couple tried making a nest behind my kitchen’s exhaust fan. This February, I was not home from mid of the month till mid of March. When I came back, I saw that the one pair of kopou have already put up a nest in the hot spot. Not only that, eggs had already been laid and the mother was sitting put on it. So once again, I tried to be as quiet as possible in the kitchen after dark.
Since I was off to work the whole day, I could keep an eye on their activities only during weekends. Later when Ma came to be with me, she would tell me their stories.
Only the female stayed in the nest. Obviously, the space was too small for the couple together. They had taken the space only to raise a family. The space is inside the balcony and so well protected from the harsh sun, wind and rain. The nest was a clumsy circle of twigs (Kopous build it that way). Normally these doves lay a pair of whitish eggs and so we also assumed that this nest too had a pair. During the day, the common mynahs would pay visits and ask the young mother how things were going. Everyday in the afternoon, around 1.15 p.m., the female would start calling out to her mate.. Krookruk-krukroo… kroo kroo kroo. I simply adore their vocals. And with her cooing, Ma would start cooing too. I bet she had silent laughs on humans. Then the male would promptly arrive in a while and exchange places with the female. She would go out, spread her wings, take a bath (may be), have lunch and then come back. It was routine. And she had become so thin that I felt like stuffing food in her beak.
One evening, when I came back home, Ma told me that one egg had rolled over and was stuck on a blade of the exhaust fan. And the female does not even seem to realize that. As it was night time, we decided that I would get up and reach the exhaust fan in the morning and put the egg back up. Next morning, when I tried to put the egg back, I realized it was only half a empty shell! The little birdie has already hatched. Of course, the mommy did not care about the empty shell. And a couple of days later, we saw her feeding her little one. I guess they had only one egg. The chick was already around five inches tall and was spreading its wings, enjoying food from its mother’s beak. It was such an wonderful sight. But after that we did not see the chick again in action. It seemed to be sleeping all the time.
On April 5th, we saw the mother flying out as usual in the afternoon. A little later we saw her watching the nest from a nearby tree while drying her weeks after a bath. In the meantime, I was trying frantically to get a glimpse of the baby and click a picture. The baby was hardly visible as it was almost the same colour as the nest and was curled up in sleep. Surprisingly, the mother did not return to the nest at dusk. Ma was worried about the little one staying alone and I teased her saying the mother was bored of looking after it and so had gone out for the night. But in my heart, I feared the worst.
The next morning, my fear was confirmed. Ma told me that neither of the parents have returned and she had seen ants crawling up the nest. The common mynahs were flying about frantically. The little did not make it. May be it got sick. It was a sad day. Ma used to spend her whole day looking at the family and trying to communicate with them. They say nothing’s worse than parents’ losing a child. And it is no different for a bird. I hope the little one is, at least, at peace now without having to worry about survival.
P.S. Since I am moving to Delhi shortly, I will be missing these winged companions. I just hope some couple would take up the space next year to start a family and do it successfully and in peace (without me!).