Another shot of our Mourning Doves because there was a lot of drama around here this morning.
I woke up this morning and was photographing the family when I noticed that there was only one squab in the nest. Just a minute or two and about a half dozen shots after that, I heard a scratching sound and looked around outside the window but didn't see what was causing it. I noticed that the mom was getting pretty rattled and starting to sit up straight.
Then, I caught it out of the corner of my eye -- a squirrel, hiding behind the tree next to one the Mourning Doves were nesting in. He was making stealthy moves toward the nest, peaking around the tree every once in a while. His diabolical intentions were pretty plain. I then realized that he was probably the attacker of the other squab. I didn't want to think about that chick's fate.
I was wondering what to do -- I figured I had about 10 to 15 seconds to do something to stop a calamity. Not enough time to run outside. Then, I just instinctively started making a hissing sound that turned into more of a "tsk tsk tsk tsk" -- like a hiss and click at the same time. The squirrel stopped dead in his tracks, head down on the trunk where he had been inching closer to the nest. He didn't see me at first because I was sitting on the floor inside the window. But then he found my eyes and we stared at each other for a few seconds.
Suddenly, I burst out in another series of "tsk tsk tsk tsk" and made the most menacing face I could as I leaned into the open window. His eyes went wide open and fear pour out. He turned and scrambled up the tree and made his escaped jumping branch to branch, tree to tree. His scamper made Tarzan look whimpy.
I had done it. I had saved the squab. But, no time to celebrate. He will be back. Though I glanced out the window many times during the day, I can't be there all the time. The little guy has no idea how much terror lurks around him.
-- steve buser