Doves in love, and volunteering at the wildlife center

I spy with my little eye… two tiny doves.

This appears to be a mated pair. I would guess the bird on the right is the male, puffed up like a male pigeon trying to woo the ladies. Common Ground Doves form a pair bond that lasts a few years.

These birds flew up from the ground to this pine tree limb and I could see the pretty red-brown color under their wings – which helps distinguish them from other doves.

Columbina passerina are not much bigger than sparrows. They are found in the southernmost parts of the U.S. (like Florida) down through the Caribbean and parts of Central and South America.

I found these birds while exploring trails behind Treasure Coast Wildlife Center in Palm City, Florida, where I recently started volunteering. It’s appropriate that the first good shots of wild birds I got at TCWC were Ground Doves because that is the bird that brought me there in the first place.

My daughter found an injured ground dove in the bushes next to the front porch of her rental cottage in Rio on the evening of Sunday, March 14. I scrambled around to gently catch the dove in a cotton dishtowel, emerging from the shrubbery with twigs in my hair, then popped the bird in a cardboard box and kept it on my back porch (away from the dogs) overnight until I could bring it to the wildlife center/ hospital first thing in the morning. Its wing was pretty mangled, maybe from a cat or other predator, and I was surprised it was still alive.

When I dropped off the dove, I got to talking with the woman who was doing intakes that morning. She happened to be the executive director, and I liked her. I asked if they needed volunteers and she said, “Always.” So I started rolling up my sleeves to help birds and other creatures that Friday, March 19. (Sadly, the little dove I brought in did not survive.)

Two or three times a week, for a few hours first thing in the morning, I help clean enclosures and give the birds and other creatures fresh water. It’s all outdoors and a great way to start the day. When I was 14 years old, I wanted to be a zookeeper. I feel like I’m checking off an item from my lifetime bucket list.

And I have the admiration of my youngest daughter…

If I have photos from TCWC, I will post approved shots through their website or social media accounts before linking or sharing here. But wild birds from the property are fine to post, and there are plenty of them.

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