Stranger At The Feeder
Outside the windows, a feeding station is being attacked by Sparrows; Chipmunks; Grackles; Red Winged Black Birds; Blue Jays; several Silver Squirrels; a large Red Squirrel and a Pine Squirrel all nudging and jousting for feed.
Among these unruly critters is one lonely, timid and very beautiful figure, a Ringed Turtle Dove.
For the last six days, like clock work, this peaceful bird has shown up and tried to fit in with the clamor around it and each day I have anticipated its arrival like a child on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa.
Since the first day at the feeding station of this non-native Ohio bird, I have been a person in awe of its simple beauty, and worried for its welfare.
Among the 30 some variety of birds on the property, we do have a few Mourning Doves that have survived the Hawk that has nested nearby, so I could see the similarity yet this larger bird was far more striking in color and appearance.
I went to my guide-book and there it was, a Ringed Turtle Dove but the description left me concerned:
“Origin unknown; domesticated widely. Established locally in several Florida cities. Habitat is City parks..”
“Domesticated” meant that this beauty was now vulnerable to its new environment and the Ohio weather.
My Mom had always joked as I was growing up that I was the re-incarnation of Saint Francis and she kept that comment right into my adult life, so that part of my personality came rushing forth – how do I help this stranger to the wild adapt and survive?
My first day was spent calling the local naturalist, nature reserves and even the Akron Zoo but to no avail. I also spent the first day taking photos of our new “guest” and posted them on Facebook and Instagram, hoping that someone with more knowledge than myself might give me guidance on what to do.
Many thought the dove was beautiful, but like myself somewhat stumped on a solution.
After several days I received a phone call from a local naturalist asking if I could send him photos of the “bird”?
He went on to explain that Ohio has had new sightings of a breed of doves coming into the area called Eurasian Doves. I told him I was glad to do so, then hung up and off to the computer I went hoping that finally we could rest in the fact that this creature might survive.
After several days of waiting, and each day this beauty showing up, I received a much-anticipated email from the Summit Parks Naturalist.
The bird that has been coming to your feeder is a Ringed Turtle Dove as you suspected. It must be an escapee or one someone released. Unfortunately, since it is a non-native bird no rehabilitator will take it in. It is highly doubtful that the zoo or pet shops would have any interest in the bird either. Unless you are able to find someone who wants the bird, the best thing would be to feed it and let nature takes it course. I wish I had a better suggestion, but I don’t. It is a beautiful bird, so I would just continue to feed it and enjoy it while it comes to your yard.
I read the email and felt my breath shorten,
“…let nature take its course.”
That is going to be hard for me to do since I know that winter will soon be upon us and it can not survive.
Meanwhile, Bob and I have named our visitor simply, “Pretty Bird.”
Every day for the last five days this Ringed Turtle Dove has become a big part of our daily life.
Arriving early morning and disappearing at sunset.
As I write this post, I look out the window and there in the bushes peering back at me is this beautiful winged creature of nature that has brightened our daily life for the last week.
A creature that is a symbol of “peace and love” and now may I add for us, joy.