Sunday, July 6, 2008

Spotted Dove : Failed Nestings

Location : Dehradun (India)

This summer season promised a lot as several birds were busy building their nests in my garden but unfortunately by the end of June , chicks fledged out only from 3 of the 11 nests.The main reasons of failed nesting were the predators which seemed to be plentiful in my locality.From predator birds such as the Crows and the Koels to the mighty small animals such as the Mongoose and the Squirrel , everyone played a part in terrifying the nesting birds by regularly raided their nests and scourging their young. A Spotted Dove pair had built its second nest ,in a period of 30 days , after its previous one was raided by a Crow . Both the nests were built on the same Bougainvillea shrub :-

The 1st Nesting attempt :-

In Mid-april , after 4-5 days of regular and frequent mating , the female dove started building its nest on 11th April.It used to flutter across quickly from the Bougainvillea shrub to the adjacent Western Himalayan Spruce tree so that it could evade from being seen by a predator.It started plucking out twigs from the tree , then returning to its chosen nesting site , placed them clumsily one on top of the other,thereby steadily completing its nest .It also used dried leaves of the Himalayan Fur tree to place in the structure.The cycle seemed eternal as the same "searching,returning,placing" business went on for 6 days continously.

Ultimately the process of nidification was completed by 18 th April . The nest was a clumsy structure , placed at a height of 15 feet from the ground , loosely balanced between the Bougainvillea branches.

The eggs were laid 2 days after the nest was built , the female probably taking in some nutritous foods in the meantime.Both the sexes incubated the eggs turn by turn.While one was incubating , the other was busy feeding itself.Everything went on fine till the 'doomsday' for the bird arrived.Unfortunately for the birds , a crow pair , nesting on the opposite tree , had probably seen them.On the 28 th of April , at about noon-time , 2 crows arrived on the scene and perched themselves on the gate of my house.I was inside the house and on hearing the "caws" , rushed outside as i was sure that a crow was definitely around. On going out in the garden , i saw the one of the crows perched on the nest with an egg in its mouth.I immediately hurled some stones on it but it was all too late.
The Nesting of the Dove pair had failed.

The 2nd Nesting Attempt :-

The pair was not seen at all for 30 days in the area.But on 28 th May , the female Spotted Dove was seen entering the Bougainvilea shrub with a twig in its mouth. This was totally surprising as i had not expected to see the pair nesting again , in the same garden , in the same shrub and in a period of just 1 month !

My curiosity rose and i went near the area where it was building the nest. I couldn't make out the exact spot where it was placing the twigs.So i decided to check it out after a couple of days.A small incomplete loosely built structure was spotted.The nest was completed in a period of 7 days.

The eggs were laid and incubated by both the sexes for 15 days.This time the pair seemed determined not to let any predator bird raid its nest , for when i used to go near the nest , it did not fly away and kept watching my movements intently.It did not used to fly away even for a minute , for it was eager to raise its young.

But sadly enough , this time another tragedy struck .The eggs did not hatch even after being regularly incubated for a period of 15 days . So at last the pair flew away and did not return back after that incident.So ,this time also the Nesting of the Spotted Dove was unsuccesful !!

1 comment:

  1. Hello Harshit:
    Is this Streptopelia chinensis? If so, we have a small population (introduced) in southern California.
    Bert Charest
    St. Augustine, Florida


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