Thursday, June 7, 2007
A week ago I noticed commotion in the palm tree outside my window. I moved to the glass slowly and watched two creatures darting to and from a branch. A pair of mourning doves were frantically carting plant matter to the tree and hastily building a nest. But what a nest. Twigs seemed to spill out into a shapeless and carelessly crafted shanty, like shelter one would erect, stranded in the woods, as a hurricane rolled in. Next thing, the lady bird sat down, swelling like a cartoon of herself. What happened to planning? I wondered.
The idyll was short-lived. The neighboring bluejays didn't take kindly to the interlopers. Within hours they began strafing the area around the tree and screeching with ballistic aggression that, at times, resembled a diabolical "Hah". Mr. Mourning Dove stood anxiously on the edge of the palm frond, nervously watching Ms. Dove. Was there a military action in the works--a skirmish, perhaps? Or, worse, an outright territorial dispute? I had no doubt that the jays, twice the size of the doves and with a belligerent disposition to match, would win.
The next day the nest was deserted.