Journal Nature

A Mother’s Moment

Dove Sleeping
Rufous Turtle Dove sleeping as she sits on her nest incubating her eggs. Nakai, Tokyo, 1999

At this time of the year birds are nesting all over the northern hemisphere. Many birds have already long gotten underway with hatchlings that now varaciously demand that the parents deliver their food. Like pizza delivery boys, the parents oblige by hurrying back and forth looking for the local fare.

The female rufous turtle dove pictured here, which is almost the size of the rock dove (otherwise known as the common pigeon), picked a spot outside our old apartment in west Shinjuku, right next to the kitchen window. All through late spring, through rain and storms, frustrated cats and heat, she and her mate tended to the eggs, preparing for that year’s family. Unfortunately, an early typoon razed through the city one night and the next morning the nest was abandonned, the eggs gone. The following year she and her mate were back, picking a new tree further away, but I never got to watch the family-raising drama, since it occurred right when I was leaving that place.

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