On a recent stopover at my village, I was awestruck by a place of habitat hanging from a ceiling fan in our bed room, where a mother bird was protecting her squabs
Birds normally fly away from humans out of fear, but during nesting, birds like pigeons and doves make nests in human homes and become completely fearless. The mystery of the doves is basically unheard of for many, although they are abundant and familiar common backyard birds with a single black mark behind and below their eyes, as well as black dots on their wings.
On a recent stopover at my village, I was awestruck by a place of habitat hanging from a ceiling fan in our bed room, where a mother bird was protecting her squabs (young babies of doves) under her wings. I gazed in awe at the doves and how they frantically built a nest over there.
On the ground, a bed placed right underneath the nest was spread over twigs, dead leaves, and grass clippings. It appears the doves are very caring parents but terrible nest builders. That’s strange. The mother dove wasn't bothered by our arrival and instead hid her young babies under her. While the squabs are still in the nest, fed by both parents, Interestingly, she does alternate hunting with the male and is able to feed regurgitated foods.
Covering in a sparse yellow-brown down, the pair of squabs is so weak and unable to raise their heads or open their eyes. Mother Dove sits on her young to keep them warm until they are big enough to regulate their own temperature. Doves have evolved the capacity to create crop milk (secretion resembling milk) to feed the young birds for a few days after hatching until they are able to digest seeds, insects, and other foods provided by their parents. Both male and female birds can produce crop milk to care for their young, while babies stick their bills into their parents’ mouths to get the substance.
Parent birds, like us humans, continue to feed and care for their fully feathered babies after they jump out of the nest. A young dove with little feather coverage could begin to shuffle around the nest after a couple of days. The baby squabs are adorable, fluffy, and have a tiny stub of a tail. They go away from the nest as soon as they learn to fly. As feathers allow birds to fly, it also helps them stay warm.
They are small and helpless for a moment because of my presence. I wonder how doves can stay on the fan and not fall off, but actually hatchlings are just a few cm long, weighing only 5 g at birth. I tiptoed quietly out of the room so that they could begin their wings and rummage around near the nest soon.
It’s similar to the care needed for an infant to grow. She probably quizzed her young broods, “Hey you two, watch me closely; I will show you how to fly very soon”.
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