I like to watching the Discover channel and the Animal channel. I find that animals, birds and other species are so unique in their own way. They are beautiful creations from a loving creator. They are such a wonderful part of our earth life. I am fascinated by how they live, procreate and care for their little ones.Recently, we had fun watching a male and female Mourning Dove as they busily made a nest for their eggs in our front yard tree.
The female Dove soon laid two perfect little eggs, making her a soon to be mother.
Meanwhile the male Dove would come and go. This is where the analogy of parenting like a Mourning Doves came together for me.
After the eggs were laid this sweet little mother bird sat on the eggs faithfully. I found it intriguing that she would sit there so patient until in the afternoon when the future father Dove would come and relieve her for a while. This would gave the mother time away from the nest; time to eat and drink
I loved it through the years when my dear husband would give me a break from our children and send me off to shop or do whatever I desire to do at the time.
I found it interesting that the Mourning Doves build their nest together. The nest was made of twigs and sticks. In reading about these amazing birds, I found that they usual try to find a place for their home that protects them from the weather and keeps the nests out of sight of birds of prey.
We too desire to find a good home in areas that will be good for raising our families. The father's role as a provider is very apparent even in the life of these little birds.
The two eggs are laid 48 hours apart.The Eggs are incubated for 14 to 15 days. During this time the father bird watches over them all and helps the mother Dove when needed. Toward the end of the 14 day incubation period, both parents often incubate the eggs together to provide additional heat and humidity.
I loved how that is similar to how we bring forth our newborns. Most of the time our husbands are right there with us through this process of birthing.
After the fledglings are hatched they are first fed "Pigeon milk" from the lining of both parents crop, and later they receive partially digested food from the parents. I guess this correlates with breast or bottle feeding of our little ones. Again the father bird comes and relieves the mother each day for a while so she can eat and have some down time.
Somewhere between 14 and 15 days after the baby birds are hatched the parents will leave the nest.
Father Mourning Dove Caring for his Fledglings~
Within a half day after the parents leave, the chicks will become hungry and one by one they take their first flight to the ground, often far below. The parents usually remain out of sight until the babies are on the ground then they will feed them.
Yup, as parents the day usual comes when our children are ready to leave the nest. We struggle with these moments because they won't be under our watchful eye. This is where we trust in our Heavenly Father that they will be watched over and protected.
When the parent birds in our tree left the nest we became very concerned. As we drove out of our driveway, we looked upon the roof of our home and there were the two parents watching over their little ones. It was a tender moment. During this time the parents watch over the babies trying to protect them from predators as they improve their flying skills and learn to peck seeds on the ground. The parents will also continue to feed them up to another 12 days after they leave the nest.
It takes a pair of Mourning Doves on an average of 33 days to raise a brood. These little baby birds grow very fast. It takes us 18 years or more for us to raise our children. In fact I think it takes longer than that. I sometimes feel like I am still raising my adult children.In some ways I would love just 33 days. However, that means I would miss the many treasured moments of raising children.
Mother Mourning Dove with her two Fledglings~
So what can we learn about parenting from the Mourning Doves. I think they are amazing parents. They carefully care for each other as they are building their nest. Just like we prepare for our little babies to come. When our babies are born we keep them protected, warm, fed and cuddled. As our babies grow they require a lot of care. I love how the fathers of today help with caring for their children more than perhaps they did in other eras. Fathers watch over and protect us just like the father Mourning Dove does his brood.
Baby Mourning Dove~
My husband and I enjoyed watching and taking pictures of these two birds as they cared for their little ones. It was all so fascinating.
I believe that God created this earth and provided for us these beautiful birds for us to enjoy. He watches over all his creations as found in the following verse of scripture:
Matthew 6: 26 " Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?" Yes, Heavenly Father is aware of us all~