Spring means new life

Yesterday turned out to be an eventful one for me, and it all revolved around Spring and what it means for the animals around me. As well-balanced gardeners and nature lovers, we all pay attention to the new life around us: baby rabbits all over the place, nesting birds of all kinds, the calls of mating toads and frogs (if you happen to have water nearby). You can't help but notice it, as it's everywhere at this time of year.

Sometimes though it really pays to be extra-attentive, as I happened to see this very young baby bird on the ground in the front yard yesterday.


My first thought was that it was dead, but as I bent down for a closer look, it moved!

I gave it a quick check for visible injuries, then gently lifted it up and set it in the palm of my hand. It immediately raised its head and started moving its feet around, which I took as a good sign. It even managed a couple of squeaks.

We had seen a Cooper's hawk in the front yard yesterday evening, as the swarm of noisy bluejays alerted us to its presence. Had it carried this little nestling away and dropped it before being chased off? I couldn't see a nest in the tree, so was wondering where the little thing belonged.

A quick call to the local bird rescue center (after checking the FAQ on their website) confirmed I needed to take this little thing in to get it some help.

I tried to figure out what kind of bird it was. My first thought was grackle, but grackle babies form fecal sacks that the parents can carry off (as the area around my pond confirms), and this little guy didn't poop that way:

So I was clueless.

The rescue center people immediately identified it as a mourning dove, and said they'd do what they could but the prognosis is uncertain with birds that are this young. This species apparently needs to be tube fed while this size.

I made a monetary donation and left the little bird in capable hands. "They usually come in pairs, so look around for the other one" was the last advice they gave me.

After searching for another misplaced mourning dove (which I thankfully did not find) I went back to the pond for a quick look around. The toads have been calling for over a month, and I'm eager to see tadpoles. Hey, I see one! No, wait... that's not a tadpole...

It's baby fish!

So difficult to photograph, as they're quite small, but there are lots of the little goldfish!  The water is clearing up a bit, which made it possible to see them:

And the fry liked coming to the surface of the water once the sunlight was hitting it, which is really the only way I noticed they were in there:

I wonder when they'll start getting their goldfish coloring?

Such an exciting day!


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outlawgardener  – (May 29, 2013 at 9:11 AM)  

I hope your foundling survives! Congratulations on your new baby goldfish. Often when they reproduce in captivity, the offspring revert to a coppery brown color. I look forward to watching them grow through your posts!

sandy lawrence –   – (May 29, 2013 at 11:16 AM)  

Best of good wishes to the little dove and thank you for your stewardship!

Salty Pumpkin Studio  – (May 29, 2013 at 12:13 PM)  

Bravo! You're a dove hero!
Wonderful post, thanks for sharing
The little fry are adorable.

Curbstone Valley Farm  – (May 29, 2013 at 1:04 PM)  

Goodness, spring has certainly sprung there, hasn't it!? In all the years we had goldfish in our pond, they never produced any fry (well none that survived long enough to be seen). We did have trouble with toad tadpoles though. We had so many in the pond one year that the water was literally seething (even with the pond pump turned off). The tadpoles, which grew quite large, would attach themselves to the sides of our fish, which seemed to stress the fish, so we relocated the tadpoles. It was the most bizarre thing I'd seen. Anyway, I hope your little fry survive, and that the young dove thrives too.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (May 29, 2013 at 1:10 PM)  

What a great story. I hope the baby dove will survive.

Barbie  – (May 29, 2013 at 2:40 PM)  

Awe!! The little dove. I can remember my first experience finding that baby dove. They are hard work if you would have kept it. Hope it manages to have a good life!

Alan  – (May 29, 2013 at 3:14 PM)  

I and the little dove thank you for your good thoughts. I wonder if the rescue center will keep me posted?

Clare: That's a disturbing mental image. I want tadpoles, but not *that* many!

Alan  – (May 29, 2013 at 3:16 PM)  

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the water isn't really that green. It's a side-effect of enhancing the contrast -- if I didn't do this, you'd see brownish green water with slightly darker brown fish shapes in it.

danger garden  – (May 29, 2013 at 11:57 PM)  

Oh that little baby bird just breaks my heart. So fragile. Glad you found it and did what you could. I chose to think it will grow up healthy and strong (don't try to rip my rose colored glasses from my face or I'll punch you).

(that's my tough girl impersonation)

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