The Mystery of the Dead Dove
Thursday 6 August 2015 — Category: Miscellaneous
Earlier in the year I had written about a pair of Eurasian collared doves which seemed to enjoy hanging out in my backyard — see Another European Visitor for more details. Since then, I have seen them almost every day, eating the seeds which fall on the ground below the bird feeder in the backyard.
So imagine my shock yesterday evening when I went outside to look at the thermometer hanging on the back of the house. There, on the bricks, in almost the exact spot where the first picture on this page was taken back in April, was the same bird, or its companion, lying dead! I just couldn’t believe my eyes!
In a flash, all sort of scenarios raced through my mind. Had a neighborhood cat attacked the bird? Or perhaps neighborhood boys? Or one of the hawks or turkey vultures I often see gliding over the house? Or did it merely die of old age?
When I looked more closely at the dead dove, I didn’t see any signs of foul play. There were no ruffled or torn feathers, and there wasn’t any obvious blood. If the culprit had been a cat or a bird of prey, the dove would have looked eaten, or perhaps the attacker would have carried the body away.
When I examined the photo of the dead dove at full magnification on my computer screen, I did notice some additional details which I had not previously seen. There does seem to be a few drops of blood around the bird, and also around its beak. It is not a huge quantity of blood, but still, it is a clue.
Later in the evening I also noticed a large spot on the window by the bird feeder. I can’t be certain, but I really don’t think it was there before. In the past, I have seen smaller birds crash into the window on a number of occasions, and they often leave small marks, similar to the one in the photo to the right, which I took this morning. The mark is about three inches in diameter.
After putting together and pondering all the clues, my deduction is that, for some unknown reason, the dove flew into the window somewhat forcefully, and the impact fried its little bird brain. Since it is likely that the beak was sticking out in front, it got tweaked enough to bleed, and some of the drops fell on the bricks.
I wonder about its mate — I always saw the pair together. I wonder if it will still come to my backyard, or if it was so traumatized by its companion’s violent death that it will never come back. I will certainly be keeping a lookout for it.
This episode beings to mind the words of Yeshua (Jesus) when He was teaching His followers:
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” — Matthew 10:29-31
AUGUST 7 UPDATE: This morning I was happy to see that the remaining dove was back looking for seeds on my patio, although I was sad to see it alone. This afternoon I was astonished to see TWO doves in the backyard! Looks like the widow(er) found a new companion ... that was quick! Easy go, easy come, I suppose! Congratulations to the new couple!