Turtle Dove

                                                               Turtle Dove

                                                              Mike Capron

When I was starting school one of the first we things we thought necessary was to learn how to whistle in our hands cupped together and sound like a turtle dove. I learned how to do it, but never fooled any dove.

 A female Eurasian Dove built a nest on top of a window air-conditioner on the west side of the hotel on the second floor. It’s June in Sheffield and the afternoon sunshine made the nest plenty hot. She sat on skimpy nest and laid two eggs. The mornings were shady and the temperature was very comfortable, but the afternoons were hot and I thought for sure something was going to have to change.  It was easy for us to observe the female dove sitting in the sun on the eggs. I just knew this wasn’t going to work. Little do I know. The eggs hatched and momma sat on the young birds for a week and then she was gone. I have no idea why or what the plan was.  I have not seen the mature dove bringing food to the young or do anything to make it more comfortable for the baby dove, but the babies look great and are more than half grown. I guess they leave the nest flying,  That first step is from the second story to the ground. I will keep you posted. No telling what is the end to this story. Anne told me Eurasian means Europe and Asia……..I guess these little guys are not impressed by any difficulties in Texas. 

Dove hunters learn a lot about their shooting skills when they go dove hunting for the first time.  Dove season starts the hunting season in Texas and many Texans show up 1st of Sept. to hunt dove.  The dove are migrating from the north and certainly the weather and seasons may have something to do with it and it may be just a clock that the dove are watching that says it is time to go south. But it is not safe around an isolated water hole in the desert southwest when dove season starts.  The dove love to water before bed time and the dove hunters sit close to the water hole with lots of shotgun shells.  Not sure what a meal costs when the dove hunters have to supply the meat from their dove hunt.  My boss loved to hunt dove and quail. He found a prefect hunting location at our neighbors. It was an isolated small feed lot where they stacked their grain in piles on the open ground. The dove could see it for miles and they flocked to fill up at supper time. The Boss got permission to bring several of his friends and hunt dove there. I got to go along as a bird shagger. It was a great hunt as the birds would fly down this draw next to an open field and the piles of grain. The hunters could scatter up and down the draw and get lots of dove shooting. The boss was interested in pulling the trigger more than keeping count of hit and miss. I  filled my sack with dead dove. These sacks attracted some horses of the neighbors and were not bothered by the shooting. I had to guard my sacks full of birds as the horses wanted to empty them and see what  was inside to eat.  I saw one of the horses eat a dead dove. I guess the dead dove smelled so much like grain that he ate the whole dove.  I had a hard time getting the dove hunters to believe this story at the supper table. 

Anne and I are still watching the young Eurasian Dove in the nest on the second floor air-conditioner. They have continued to grow and look very healthy without much noticeable help from mom and dad.. They grew wing and tail feathers until one of them left the nest yesterday and had no trouble flying, but the other never left the nest and was a lonely looking bird. The sibling flew around the immediate neighborhood trying to encourage the other to leave the nest, but no, not yet.  The free flying sibling decided to return to the nest late yesterday afternoon and spent the night in the nest, both siblings very comfortable.  Anne and I can’t wait to see what happens next. We sure don’t know much about how the Good Lord and baby doves operate. Life in West Texas is not all peaches and creme. No wonder dove meat is tuff and hard to chew.  

My grand daughter Layne, thinks it is pretty tuff also and puts it another way.  She was returning form Arkansas after a family trip when their plane was delayed in Dallas for a couple hours. My grand daughters Layne and Lilli are 5 and 3. They weren’t long in striking up a conversation with some other young girls siting and waiting for their plane. Layne told one of the young girls that they were from Alpine. The young lady said, “Oh that is a big city.”  

Layne said. “Oh no it isn’t,…….We don’t even have a Chic-Fil-A.

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