Fluffy feathers

    19-Mar-2023
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Kamal Baruah
Birds normally fly away from humans out of fear but during nesting, birds like pigeon and dove make nests in human homes and become completely fearless. The mystery of the doves is basically unheard of for many although they are abundant and familiar common backyard birds having a single black mark behind and below her eyes, as well as black dots of her wings.Ona recent stopover at my village, I was awestruck by a place of habitat hanging from a ceiling fan in the bed room, where a mother bird protecting her squabs (young babies of dove) under her wings. I gazed in awe at the doves how they frantically built a nest over there.
On the ground, a bed placing right underneath the nest was spread over twigs, dead leaves and grass clippings. It appears, the doves are very caring parents, but terrible nest builders.That’s strange - The mother dove wasn’t bothered by our arrival and instead hiding her young babies under her.She probably quizzed to her young broods, “Hey you two, watches me closely, I will show you how to fly very soon”.While the squabs still in the nest fed by both parents. Interestingly, she does alternate hunting with the male and is able to feed on regurgitated foods.
Covering in a sparse yellow-brown down, the pair of squabs is so weak and unable to raise their heads or open eyes.Mother dove sits on her young to keep them warm until they are big enough to regulate their own temperature. Doves have evolved the capacity to create crop-milk (secretion resembling milk) to feed the young birds for a few days after hatching until they are able to digest seeds, insects, and other foods by their parents. Both male and female birds can produce crop milk to care for their young,while babies stick their bills into their parents’ mouths to get the substance.
They are small and helpless for a moment by my presence. I wonder how doves can stay on the fan and not fall off but actually hatchlings are just a few cm long, weighing only 5g at birth. I tiptoed quietly out of the room so that they could begin their wings and rummage around near the nest soon. The incident reminded us of our daughter from her toddler days. It’s similar care needed for an infant to grow. The raising with all the responsibilities and activities that involved so far, now accomplished after completion of Twelve Board. Soon we dropped her at hostel;we realized no hive of activity at home after all those days of dropping school and coaching back-to-back. We are now living a pretty solitary time inside the four walls,watching long hours in front of TV while looking on the bright side for the next opportunity to see her. Though it sets lonely, unaccompanied and deserted and the tone of voice get disheartened sometimes, I have reminded my companion. The road ahead is very near for another drive. We have a few miles away from her in the coming weekend before we get a bit low-spirited tonight.   Parent Birds are like us humans who continue to feed and care for their fully feathered babies after they jump out of the nest. Young doves with little feather coverage could begin to shuffle around the nest after a couple of days. The baby squabs are adorable, fluffy with a tiny stub of a tail and go away from the nest soon they learn to fly. Yes, she grows up and leaves the nest. On one hand, we felt lonely, but on the other hand, she finds hostel days enjoyable like other new residents; she shares her new experience to us now and then.
Dealing with the smell of the Anatomy lab can be tough. The dissection of organs, tissues or cells from the corpse of a Koka and an Aita in Physiology felt sad and subdued. Prick her ring finger herself for a blood test is being experienced to be a good clinician, while many other friends suffer injuries from those frightening situations.We thought she is too fluffy for these entire situations to be a serious medico.As feathers allow birds to fly, but it also helps them to stay warm.Hope her fluffy feathers shine with happiness in the warm sunshine.