Have you ever seen a pigeon’s nest or baby pigeons?  Highly unlikely, unless the trusting dove couples that mate for life (pigeons are doves) chose an unsafe nest location near humans such as the unfortunate couple that picked a barren planter standing on a busy staircase near an elevator in an old Budapest apartment building.

The doves were “kissing” (male feeding the female) and cuddling together for days.  They never left the nest unless disturbed.  A mean old human “crow”, prim and proper, would never leave them in peace, tried to chase them away, but they always came back. Then, one day, a tiny egg appeared on the soil.

It was heartwarming to see the birds’ dedication to their unborn offspring.  They were alternating sitting on the egg: mom at night, dad during the day.  As dad was easily scared and would fly away if disturbed, mom would spend all night and most of the day on the nest without food and freezing in cold weather.  Dad would periodically check up on her, but his stays did not last long and, with mom gone to look for food, it was worrisome to see the egg left in the cold…until it was gone. 

Who removed it? Maybe the old “crow”, maybe someone else, but even that devastating event did not deter the two doves: they kept sitting on the empty soil and, talking about persistence, a few days later a second egg appeared!  But, alas, it was promptly removed as well…Still hoping for a miracle, the two doves kept sitting on the nest perhaps thinking the large pebbles were their babies…

Seeing them wasting away was devastating…What would have happened if the eggs were not removed and they ended up with baby doves that could not fly and  had to be fed almost until adulthood?  Would someone kill the live baby birds?  Would the parents have to abandon them and they would starve to death?

All these questions needed a tough solution.  To prevent further suffering,  I moved the pebbles to the other side of the planter and covered the “nest” with a magazine when the dad left for a few minutes.   He came back, walked on the paper and started looking for his “eggs” frantically walking all over the planter and the staircase.   Unable to find them he called mom and she was even more perturbed trying to move the magazine, walked down the stairs and spent hours looking for her stolen eggs, but ignoring the pebbles on the other side. 

The distraught doves tried searching again the next day until they finally gave up and flew away.  Only their sad cooing could be heard over the roof magnified by the echo of the courtyard and sounding a lot like human wailing…

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