I have spent the whole year tricking my lovely doves, gently replacing their real eggs with "fake" ones. I do this even though it makes me sad. If I let nature take its course, I would probably own around a hundred more doves then my loft would hold! Also, my doves would be exhausted and depleted with rearing too many children.
Now that the winter is almost over, I am timing this event just right (hopefully). I have 8 pairs who all laid eggs at the same time two weeks ago. Now in about 21 days total, I should have 16 new baby doves to join the loft. They will be banded with their AU leg bands and my phone number band at around five days of age. When they are about one month old, which will be at the end of March, they will be ready to learn how to get in and out of the loft!
Their first lesson will be gentle handling from "the lady" (that's what I think they call me). After that, they will notice that every time "the lady" puts their seeds down she whistles a happy tune. This will teach the babies that whistling means food time. Whistling will also bring them in when they are flying around outside. They learn "the lady" is calling them in to fresh water, a soft nest, and their dinner. Once they learn this, they come in fast! (hopefully fast, that's why its called training :)
So another team of youngsters to train which I am excited about! That means I will get to visit some of my nearby neighbors and hang out on their lawns for daily flights of youngsters. I start out close by in some perfect settings down the road a little ways- thank you Dolores, Shorty, Sandy and Ron!
Look for more baby pictures soon!
(The picture above is of Pretty Boy, he has a number two written in chalk to remind me that he is sitting on real eggs)