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Two Doves on the Wrong Side of a Closed Window

Two Doves on the Wrong Side of a Closed Window

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An avian lesson before morning coffee

Last week, just before the latest heat wave descended upon New York City, I woke to a delightfully cool breeze coming through the open window near me. My eyes remained closed as I luxuriated in the feeling, knowing it would soon leave.

And then I heard cooing.

Birds often land on the ledge outside the windows, and I assumed this one must be perched there – until I opened my eyes. A small tan-colored dove sat on the top of the lower double-hung window. These are windows in which the bottom half pushes up and the top half pulls down.

Both halves were closed – with the dove perched inside the apartment.

While thinking through what to do, I quietly moved into another room where I discovered a second dove sitting on top of a door – also small and tan-colored, and also cooing. This one, however, was very close to an open window.

Bird Whispering?

The last thing I wanted was for my morning companions to get scared and start flying through the apartment, so my first thought was to keep my distance. That said, I knew I needed to adjust the open window to give the birds a maximum window (so to speak) of opportunity for their escape.

I slowly made my way to the half-open window and carefully lifted it to fully extend the opening. The dove on the door flew into the adjacent room where it settled on the window ledge below where its friend remained. Potted plants hid it from my view.

Wanting to create an environment in which they would both feel safe, I stood at the opposite side of the room and softly began to speak. I gestured to the open window like people on the tarmac at airports who use their arms to direct planes to their resting stop.

That way! That way is an open window! Go that way!

There was no movement whatsoever. Everyone seemed happy with the current arrangement but me.

Plans B & C

It was time to get up close and personal. I had to open the window that was now home to both doves.

Slowly and carefully, I inched my way forward and touched the bottom corner that was farthest away from them. I gently opened the window about six inches and stepped back to see what would happen.

The dove behind the potted plants ruffled its feathers a second or two and flew out the window into the beautiful morning. One down – one to go. My original guest was still there.

This way! Just drop down!! Gently drop down and you can join your friend outside!

But there it stayed, apparently quite comfortable.

The morning was getting on and I decided a shower would help me think more clearly. Maybe the sound of running water allowed the remaining dove to think more clearly as well. I heard loud cooing and knew it was saying goodbye. Sure enough, it was gone.

I searched the apartment for any signs of their visit left behind, and am happy to say that all I found were a few downy feathers. They had been perfect guests.

A Reflection

I have no idea what the doves might have learned from their adventure, but the encounter illustrated a few things for me. I rather enjoyed my new friends and would like to believe they knew I was trying to be of help.

I matched their calmness with my own. Calm begets calm – fear begets fear.

Respecting the space and autonomy of others is important. They had two avenues of escape. I cannot imagine the fear that would be unleashed if I tried to capture and release them. I am quite sure there would be more than a few feathers left for me to find.

A cool breeze continued to flow into the dove-free apartment. It was time for coffee.

Photo by Matt Bango on Unsplash

Cathy Joseph is the author of the Random Conversations blog and is currently seeking representation for her book, The Art of Having a Delicious Conversation.

© 2022 Cathy Joseph. All rights reserved.

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