Doves are gentle things. Their cooing is restful and wistful. No wonder they are symbols of peace and love. But why must they build their nests above the entry-way to my home? Is nature’s housing so deficient that they must intrude on man-made nooks, never intended to be bird residences? Like intrusive condominium neighbors, who enjoy the benefits of their own domicile while neglecting the shared maintenance of common areas, these lovely birds think nothing of where they poop, which I suppose is natural.
Supposedly, that is because birds don’t think — at least insofar as a bird brain doesn’t quite have the capacity to reason as I do. But does our God-ordained dominion over them mean that I must clean up after them? In addition to forgiving those little trespassers, are we required to clean up their droppings?
Relying on the premise that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, I have tried several methods of trying to prevent the doves from getting started on their nest-building in the first place. I tried hanging up colorful, metallic decorations of an apparent Chinese design. But those didn’t work. I tried putting out fans that twirled in the breeze. Neither did they do the job. The doves seemed to study them for a while before deciding they were simply harmless decorations. I still had to go out and physically shoo them away. They would fly to the building across the way and sit on the roof, watching and waiting for me to go back inside so they could resume their nest-building activities.
I even tried throwing seed pods at them that fell off the trees in the yard. But of course, that never fazed them. I’m a lousy shot but I was desperate. When I calmed down, I did a search on the internet and discovered these electronic devices that produce high-pitched sounds that keep various pests away … including birds. “Ah!”, I thought, “Technology!” So, I ordered one and eagerly awaited its arrival.
When it came, I put the batteries in and mounted it on the wall above our front door. It had knobs for adjusting the pitch and range of the sounds, so when the doves seemed to be ignoring it, like they had everything else, I just readjusted it, trusting that I would eventually find the “sweet spot” that would permanently keep the avian invaders away. But no matter how I adjusted it, it only seemed to work for a short while. Eventually the doves always seemed to get so used to it they just ignored it.
Then one day, in one of those rare moments in which the right synapses create a brilliant connection, I noticed a very furry cat puppet I had given my wife as a gift. It had been lying dormant in the bedroom for who knows how long, and was covered in a fine layer of baby powder. Picking it up and shaking off the powder, I thought to myself, surely this thing looks enough like a real cat to scare off those doves! It was truly an “Ahah!” moment.
The cat puppet was the best deterrent yet. My neighbors got a kick out it when they saw what they thought at first was a real cat sunning itself on our railing. It was quite a conversation piece and seemed to delight everyone. But the thing is, none of my neighbors seemed to be having the same problem I was having with doves nesting in their eaves. I wondered, “Why me?”. Why my eaves but not my neighbors’? I guess it’s just one of those mysteries of life.
For some time now, when I hear the doves out there, I take a look, and if I see the doves trying to settle in, I put the cat out. That usually is a daily routine in the Spring time of year. But this Spring the weather has been inconsistent — sometimes warm, sometimes cool — so there hasn’t been much dove activity and I haven’t been putting the cat out much. I wasn’t really expecting them this morning when I heard the tell-tale sounds of nesting doves. I also wasn’t fully aware. I had just gotten out of bed, sill in my pajamas, blowing my nose and beginning to think I might need to take an antihistamine.
Thusly disoriented, I opened my front door and observed two doves in the eaves, acting as if they owned the penthouse they had just commandeered and that I was the interloper. As I came out, the larger bird left right away. But the smaller one (the female) held her ground and looked at me with possessive distress as I waved my arms at her, trying to get her to follow her mate’s example.
When my waving arms came close enough to convince her to leave, she also flew away. But instead of following the male, she took evasive action behind me and flew right through my open door! Oh no! I was stunned.
I quickly followed her in, wondering how in the world I would ever get her out. She immediately tried to fly through the sliding glass doors that open onto the deck. The problem is, they were closed. She fell to the floor and continued to throw herself against the glass pane that blocked her escape to freedom.
We have a vaulted ceiling and had she chosen to fly up I never would have been able to help her, so I walked slowly toward her as she frantically tried to pass through the unseen barrier. I tried speaking to her in the most comforting voice I could manage and told her in English to calm down and I would try to help her. Even though there’s no real way to communicate a concept like that to a bird, it was all I could think of.
As I got to the door and slowly began to slide it open, and then open the screen, the little bird was still fluttering against the glass in a desperate attempt to flee. I had to gently herd her to the open part and as soon as she was in that open space, she took off like a shot — apparently none the worse off for her experience.
I, on the other hand, was left with the task of cleaning up where she had pooped on the carpet, in front of the sliding glass door. And since I was the one who had scared it out of her, I didn’t feel too put out. I was just glad the bird was safely outside where she belongs.
Like I said, I don’t really have anything against doves. I just don’t like them pooping on my property.
The moral of this story is that everyone has their own opinion, and sometimes we can’t help bothering each other with our differences. But the most important thing is that when we feel trapped and just can’t see a way out — that’s when we need to stop flailing about and put our trust in the LORD. He’ll always make a way…maybe not a way that we can figure out, but it will be his way.