Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

June 13, 2011

Life is tough in the desert

Filed under: backyard, Birds — richditch @ 6:41 pm
Mourning Dove fledgling

Mourning Dove fledgling

Just over a week from our surprise White-winged Dove fledgling in the yard we were surprised to have this fledgling Mourning Dove appear in front of the house.

Yes, that’s our front “lawn:” a thin spread of decomposing granite to hide the bare earth underneath. It was bad enough having a green grass lawn when we lived in New Jersey (I wanted to let it turn into a natural meadow but my wife thought the neighbors would give us too much trouble about it); I decided as soon as my moved in to our house here in Phoenix that I would not get sucked into feeding and watering and mowing grass where it had no business being. So we kept the gravel front yard and had the grass in the back yard replaced with more sensible desert plants.

But it makes a nasty surface if you are a young dove that somehow has escaped the nest, especially when the unfiltered sun beats down and sends the temperature into the triple digits.

This unfortunate bird couldn’t fly yet, so it spent its time on the ground. We were happy when it found some shade and moist dirt under the decorative plants near the entrance, and distressed when we’d see it get caught out in open like this.

I took a few frames with a hand held Nikon D200 and 70-300 VR lens, trying not to stress the bird any more than it was. Since it was making its way to some nearby shade I decided not to interfere.

We saw the fledgling around for a couple of days but not recently, and we hope it somehow has survived the local predators (cats, dogs, coyotes, and Great-tailed Grackles).

Nikon D200, 70-300 VR Nikkor, ISO 400, 1/800th second at f/8.

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