Our story of the young Mourning Doves ends here. When we woke up yesterday morning we found that only one of the two young squabs had survived. No hint of where the other one was. Then we got back late yesterday night -- too late to check on them.
This morning they were both gone. The nest was laying on the ground. Only the father was around -- perched on the garage looking around. Occasionally he would walk down to the eave and look at the ground. At least once he flew down and examined the nest.
Later in the morning the mother joined him on the perch and they kept peering around. About an hour later I looked out and saw them pecking at each other around the neck. The female was shaking her tail feathers up and down. They continued this before it moved to another stage -- since this is a G-rated blog I won't go into any detail.
Early this afternoon, I look out and noticed a couple of squirrels scampering across the roof of the garage. One jump away to an nearby tree, but the other was too afraid. Soon the companion came back to join the squirrel on the roof and then they scampered through the trees outside our windows. When they came to the tree where the nest had been, each in his turn took a few seconds to poke around where the nest had been (the photo above is the first one sniffing around the tree where the nest had been yesterday). They obviously were looking for something in that spot. Then they scratched their way up the tree and jumped off.
Were they the villains? I doubt that they were carnivorous. But just ordinary clumsiness of poking around could have easily upset the nest and sent the baby to the ground. Maybe it was the eggs they were looking for. I have read some writers who say squirrels can cause the untimely death of the Mourning Dove young.
All I know is that this pair of Mourning Doves has now tried twice (that we have seen) to raise a brood here and it ended in failure and death both times. I think they will be back. I wish they would learn that the spot is not safe.
-- steve buser