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Our BlueJay-Dove saga

Every year, we usually have doves nesting in the planters in my patio.  They're not always successful in laying eggs, however, as we are outside a lot and the doves end up getting scared off.  When they start building nests, it's still cold here so we're not out as much and I guess they think they've found this perfect spot -- until the weather warms and we're underneath their nests.  And then Easter and Mother's Day comes along and we have a lot of people over and the doves fly off, never to return.  But one year, we actually had a baby.  And one day when we returned home, the baby and momma both were gone.  We figured a cat had gotten the baby.

Last year, we actually had two babies hatch and make it all the way through.  And then came the big day when they left the nest.  They just hung around on the patio for most of the day and we were worried sick a cat would happen along, so we watched over them from the windows all day.  Success!

This year, the dove set up a nest again.  One egg.  A chick hatches.  Hubby sees the baby, still fluffy with new feathers, on the edge of the planter that morning.  We're both gone most of the day and when we return, baby is gone.  We keep seeing Momma in the bushes as the edge of the patio and decide maybe the baby fell out of the nest and the Momma and baby were hiding in the bushes.  But then the momma leaves and we think, oh no, the baby must have fallen from the nest and ended up dying.  I even poked around in the ferns and hellebores to see if I could find the dead baby, but no luck.

A few days later, a dove starts building a nest in another planter.  This one is in a spot where we have to pass by on our way to the garden, but the dove seems really calm, even when we're only a couple feet away from her.  So it soon becomes apparent that this dove might be the same one and is already used to us.  Mother's Day comes and we have about 20 people and little kids out on the patio, and the dove doesn't budge all day.  So we're pretty sure this is the same dove.  But what happened to the first baby?

Then the next week, I hear a squawk and I turn to look out the window and see a bluejay on the edge of the planter where the momma dove is nesting.  It flies off, but a few minutes later, I see it there again!  I run outside and chase it off and then it occurs to me what happened to the earlier baby dove.  You see, a couple of years ago, I heard this awful ruckus out back-- birds squawking and chirping.  I look out the window and see a robin swooping back and forth to the ground, and when I go to look closer, I see a blue jay on the ground, pecking at something.  I run outside and see a baby robin on the ground.  The blue jay is holding it down with one claw and pecking, HARD! at that baby robin's head.  I ran the blue jay off, but the poor baby robin ended up dying.

I'd heard that blue jays were mean, but I'd always liked them and thought they were so pretty.  Well, no longer!  And now, thinking about that blue jay killing the baby robin, I'm pretty sure that the blue jay saw the baby dove in the planter and came along and killed it.  

The point of my whole story?  There is sometimes cause to allow your husband to get his pellet gun and shoot at pretty blue jays.  Yes, there is.  If they're that cruel as to kill other baby birds that aren't harming them at all, then I'm sorry.  And besides, the pellet gun doesn't pack a strong enough punch to kill them.  But maybe they'll think twice about coming into my yard and killing baby doves!  

The second hatching has occurred.  There were two eggs, and today I saw one baby dove poking a head out from Momma.  Don't know if there's another one hidden under there yet or not.  I hope we can keep the blue jays away.  I saw one in the yard today, but I'm watching!  
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July 2012

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