ZEBRA DOVES - 7. The chicks have fledged
At around 2.30 pm today, both chicks took their maiden flight and landed on a branch of a nearby tree. The parent dove had not flown into the nest to feed them since 7.30 am. This no doubt provided the incentive for the chicks to leave the nest.
Things have developed beyond expectation. Despite the heavy human traffic, no one noticed the nest or its occupants. Workers moved in and out of their worksites within metres of the nesting tree. Drivers parked their vehicles by the tree. And pedestrians walked past it day and night. The camouflage must have been very effective. And there were the occasional duetting as one bird called while its mate replied.
The incubation took 13 days while the chicks took 15 days to fledge. The nest and birds were right under the noses of all those noisy people who constantly moved around the tree for all of 28 days. And all this time they remained unnoticed and unmolested.
Suddenly I am left with very much less to do. No more sneaking out to take a peek. No more lugging the camera mounted on a tripod. No more worrying that the location could soon be discovered.
In all I spent at least 50 hours, if not more, keeping watch on these birds. It is fortunate that they decided to build their nest just outside my house. Otherwise it would take more effort and time. Now I understand why a bird watcher told me that it was too much work to “behaviour watch” than “bird watch.”
Late this evening I managed to locate the parent and its two fledglings huddled together on a branch of a nearby tree. I will try to monitor the fledglings in the days ahead...