30 April 2008

We're having babies!

I suppose I need to clarify...not us, per se, but our dwellers. :)

About 10 days ago, R and I went out on the balcony for the first time in, well, a LONG time (the winter has been COLD) to enjoy the first warmth of spring. I immediately noticed a bunch of twigs in the corner, behind a chair. "What the ...?" Did our neighbors sweep trash under the divider?

I looked over--it didn't make sense. As usual, there was NOTHING on our neighbors' balcony--not a table, a plant, nothing. And the twigs were in kind of a neat little pile...

Well, I guess it was another thing we'd have to clean up before the first party of the year. *sigh* The same day, I put Mandy, the mandarin tree, back out on the balcony, so she, too, could enjoy the sunshine and warmth.

Then, we were busy again, or as always... no more balcony.

On Monday, I went out to water Mandy. I was startled to see a pigeon waddle slowly, almost sleepily, out from the corner, behind the chair! I looked, and THERE, on top of the twigs, was a beautiful, perfect little EGG!! It's a nest! (Wow, living in Manhattan for 7 years does something to some of our instincts...)

I froze; I almost started crying. I tried to tell her that it was OK, that I wouldn't hurt her, but she kept moving away, still slow. I went inside quietly and quickly ran to the computer to look up everything possible on pigeons and their eggs--just in case I scared her so badly that R and I would be raising a new chick. And I called R in emergency.

Contrary to popular belief, they do not carry diseases, and they are actually not dirty. They mate for life--bet you didn't know THAT! Their incubation period is 18 days, and the little eggs have to be kept at 97-102F (like human body temp, I told R--you know, we had to be prepared...), and they usually come in pairs.

These last three facts gave me so much anxiety I could barely go through the day. You see, we have a party planned for the 17th, and I scared mommy away, and I only saw ONE, solitary egg.

Most importantly, Mommy pigeon had to come back, so I was looking out the window constantly. This was fruitless, as the nest is exactly UNDER the window, and there is a ledge, so unless she sticks her tail or head out, or adjusts, I am unlikely to see her. But, FINALLY, the next morning, I awoke R, "She came back!!"

#2, there should be siblings. So, last evening, R and I quietly went out to look. Mommy was there, and she wasn't terribly scared of us. She left the nest, but only went about 3 1/2 feet away, to the edge of the balcony, where she stayed, while we looked, from about 5 feet in the other direction, at our trophies--TWO little eggs. YAY!!

Now, the last thing, the party. We have decided to go ahead and have it. The chicks should pip (break out of their shells) by then. We will block off that area of the balcony, and we figure our friends are good people. They will probably like to see our little friends, and we have faith that they will go unharmed. That is, of course, if they are even still there! (I have a feeling they will be.)

Something else really cool: Mommy sits on the eggs to keep them warm from late afternoon through the night until mid-morning, at which point Daddy takes over and does the day shift.

I will keep you posted. I may even try to take some photos. I just don't want to scare them too much. :)

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