... when you're constantly on the move, few things remain unchanged.

the white winged doves

Monday, April 13, 2015

About a month ago, just after the official beginning of spring, Will and I were sitting in our living room playing chess, when we noticed two white winged doves mating in the live oak tree right in front of our balcony!  Yep, we saw the whole shebang - ruffled feathers and all!  We watched as the male dismounted and flew away a short time later, leaving the female alone with her thoughts in the aftermath.  She sat there for a long time, barely moving and I wondered what she was thinking about... whispered echoes of abandonment resounding through my hollow mind.

After that day, we'd see one or both of those doves returning to that exact spot very frequently - from what we could tell, several times an hour.  When I couldn't stand it any longer and curiosity got the better of me, I peered over the balcony railing - hoping to discover any visible trace of significance to the birds; when I noticed they were building a nest!  I'm not sure whether this is typical, or if Will and I simply have two of the most sentimental white winged doves ever heard of, but I was paralyzed in that spot that day as I watched their nest take form in the very spot they consummated their feathery love.  I felt grounded by the weight of this new revelation unfolding before me: love is truly all around.

this was the very first pic I took of the nest, at the beginning of spring and
 just after they'd finished building it.  Look, there was still pollen in the tree!

As the days went by, Will and I watched the doves take turns sitting in their now completed nest.  We saw two perfect little eggs and felt the loving concern of the parents who never once left their side, waiting for one to arrive before the other took flight, fixed the nest after every storm or strong wind and ferociously protected them against intruding birds and squirrels.  Before long, the dogs were as curious as we were - Baxter endlessly watching the glass sliding door and letting one of us know every time the doves stirred.  "Shift changes" became our favourite event to watch: the restless parent upon the nest would make a few of those 'whoo' sounds and the other - obviously never far away - would arrive promptly to take up its shift upon the nest so the first one could fly and feed.  We didn't realize for a while that there were only two shift changes a day - each parent spent roughly 12 hours on the eggs each!

a murky through-the-glass photo of a 'shift change'
(yes, I fumbled and raced like an idiot to capture this. you're welcome). 
Baxter ceaselessly watching the doves <3
that tree beyond the rail is literally where they nested!

The doves became part of our family.  We even named them: Patricia and Walter/ a.k.a Pat & Wally.  I guess we became part of theirs too, because after a while they no longer reacted to our presence out on the balcony and would sleep through my plant waterings, Baxter's bark-greeting everyone that walked by and evening telephone conversations over coffee right beside their tree.

Then last Monday (April 6th) our white winged doves became more active than usual.  Pat, as ever sitting on the nest, was visited by Wally several times an hour, when he would mount her and then fly off again!  I saw the exchange clearly from my spot at the dining table where I sat working.  Again, curiosity got the better of me and I abandoned by draft, moving closer to the glass sliding door so I could see what he was bringing her during each visit.  Food I thought... but I was wrong.  Wally was bringing sticks!  And as Patti sat, he'd climb on top of her and arrange the sticks beneath her - fixing the nest before taking off again for more.  Damaged by the wind, I thought... but again I was proved wrong, when Pat shifted slightly to one side and I saw a piece of broken eggshell fall slowly from the nest!  WE HAVE BABIES I howled into the phone at Will a second later.  And indeed we did.

Over the past week, we've witnessed two perfect little dove babies growing and changing rapidly.  They don't have their white wings just yet, in fact they've barely stopped resembling freaky, featherless aliens, but these babies whom only a mother could love actually have a loving, devoted father who still comes and sits on them his equal share of the time, fixes the nest frequently to allow for the growing twins and regurgitates his food dutifully as well!  Our white winged babies were born from love, in a spot significant to their parents, they were incubated in love and are now completely surrounded by love with an adopted human/ canine family that's sworn to play their part in protecting them from harm.

If I was able to see auras, I'd swear the entire tree glowed in the colour of love... whatever colour that is... green?  I can feel love radiating from and around that spot whenever I'm out there, whether night or day and whether my eyes are opened or closed.

It's hard to explain what I feel when I look out of my glass doors at the little bird family in oak tree.  Seeing firsthand that nature is all around us and exists just the way it's portrayed in National Geographic documentaries spreads a uniquely wonderful, serene feeling through me.  It's clear that humans are so disconnected from nature these days and Will and I are no exception.  Somehow sharing our space with another creature family has made us aware of, and saddened by, our lack of involvement in the world of nature surrounding us.  We've begun to ask the question: is distance from nature is also distance from true, unwavering love?

I once wondered what Patti thought after Wally flew away that first, fateful day.  Was she scared?  Full of regret?  I now know that they had a signed contract before the deed was even done and she felt secure, knowing irrevocably that he'd see his part out.  He'd support her.  Be a good, nurturing father.  He'd come back every day to help her and watch them.  They are a team. It's only humans that have forgotten what true love is.  Only us that can feel afraid or abandoned after the act of making "love".  We think we're superior to any being on the planet, but even birds to it better!  They're better partners, better parents/ no excuses, no cop-outs.  They got together to do something and by god: they DID.  I can tell it's not easy as I watch them day and night.  Regurgitating meals several times an hour/ not eating as much as they'd like due to being stuck in the tree/ balancing for hours on end upon the fragile bones of their precious babies/ being stuck in the same spot no matter the weather...

Patti, in the rain 
Let's be honest, most humans would have tapped out by now.  It saddens me for the state of humanity but also fills me with hope that love (and commitment) is not dead in all the world, when there's such a pure example right outside my balcony.  Their babies continue to grow and change while I continue to stand and stare at the spot where just over a month ago, two white winged doves acted out springtime and built a family from love; hoping that my family will likewise withstand the weather, the hard times and sacrifices.


  1. I'm surprised you didn't play an old Fleetwood Mac tune, called, "White Wing Dove."

    1. I love that song but kind of sick of it b/c Will's been singing it non stop since these guys entered our family! In the mornings when they coo, he says (almost daily) "the white winged doves are singing hoo baby hoo." Lol. My husband the dag x




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Sharing my stories of migrating from Australia to the US | travel adventures | married life | furry kids | new experiences | lessons | and loving life despite always missing home. xo.


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spring in Austin TX

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