Three weeks ago I wrote about the Doves on our Doorstep, a pair of mourning doves taking turns sitting atop two eggs. They’ve been good, calm neighbors and have appeared oblivious to all our comings and goings. We check on the nest several times a day and have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of their chicks.
This morning, however, when I opened the front door at six a.m. and stepped outside to retrieve the newspaper, instead of simply finding doves on our doorstep, I found death on our doorstep. There at my feet was a fallen egg. The precious white shell was splattered and sitting amid a small puddle of yellow. Partial remains of the unborn baby were clearly evident.
My heart nearly broke.
I can’t say what happened overnight. Had the egg simply fallen from the nest during the mother and father shift change? Had the parent doves deemed the egg unviable and tossed it out? Had there been some kind of scuffle? A predator invasion? Whatever the cause, this is a permanent loss.
I’m not sure what to do with the egg. It was difficult enough photographing it in front of the parent. How would he/she feel or react if I were to scoop it up and dispose of it . . . where? In the trash? Bury it?
I’m not sure what to do. As I mourn the loss of this unborn mourning dove, I'm hoping someone out there has a suggestion.