7/26/22, pt4/4 – We’ve had eleven more squabs since Popeye and Olive, and I tell them all about what happened to her as soon as they’re near fledging. Once they leave the garden, it’s all up to them, but I hope her sad tale has helped keep some of them alive longer. I’ll never know, though, will I?

7/26/22, pt 3/4 – I flew over to Fred, who was on the nest with his back to the garden, so couldn’t have seen anything, but I didn’t need to speak. He said in a quiet, mournful voice, “I know, Wilma. I know.” Oh, it was a terrible day.

7/26/22, pt 2/4 – I heard a scream, but it wasn’t my poor Olive, it was the giant folk child. He ran in a panic into their place, and moments later, an adult came dashing out – but it was too late. The hawk had already carried Olive away, and all that was left were some of her beautiful feathers floating about in the afternoon sun.

7/26/22, pt 1/4 – Well, Fred was on the nest later that day, and I was snoozing in a tree when I heard Olive calling up to me. She was in the middle of the lawn AGAIN and shouted “Mom, Mom, I’m off to follow–” but then there was a stomach-churning WHOOSH of wings out of nowhere, and a dirty great hawk swooped down on my baby.

7/23/22, pt 3/3 – We were already rearing Pip and Pop when Popeye and Olive announced they were ready to leave. Popeye heard from a fledgling, who had heard it from another fledgling that there was a large group of young doves hanging out together in the next garden, and I said “that sounds perfect. You might even find some of your brothers and sisters there!”

7/23/22, pt 2/3 – Once Popeye fledged, we put them in the same bushes that Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm had left just a couple of days before, but every morning, when I left the nest, there was Olive, wandering in the open without a worry in the world, and I told Fred she didn’t have a lick of sense.

7/23/22, pt 1/3 – Oh yes, our Olive. She would perch herself on the giant folks’ furniture – right out in the open – teasing Popeye and preening herself like a little princess. I said, “Olive, that’s not a safe place for a squab,” but she just rolled her eyes and stayed put for five minutes or more to show me who was boss, before moving to a better spot.

7/13/22, pt 3/3 – Popeye loved to hear old Dove tales and songs passed down from generations, but Olive would get bored and make these little sighing sounds to let you know she’d heard enough. She was ready to fledge long before Popeye was, and my goodness, we had a right game getting him out when the time came. Took two days, if I remember right.

7/13/22, pt 2/3 – Anyway, not long after Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm left the nest, I had my second clutch. Popeye and Olive, we called them. Fred fed Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm in the bushes nearby at night, then took over looking after Popeye and Olive in the mornings, while I fed Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm during the day. Clutch one, clutch two, day after day. I sometimes didn’t know whether I was coming or going!

Happy hatching day to the fifth clutch of this season, and squabs number 16 and 17 in this nest. Welcome to the world, Twitty and Kitty (named by 10 year old son).

7/8/22, pt 3/3 – Worked well most of the time, except for the sudden gushes of water that came out of the ground nearby, a couple of times a week. Gave the poor bairns a shock every time, those did! All in all, though, my first ever clutch was a happy success. If only I could say the same about my next clutch.

7/8/22, pt 2/3 – We’d already found a promising fledgling spot for them in nearby bushes. Lots of shade from the heat, good perches to jump on if they needed to move out of reach of the white fanged beast, AND we could keep an eye on them from the nest.

7/8/22, pt 1/3 – Well, it’ll come as no surprise that Bamm-Bamm flew the nest first. All we had to do was call him down from the middle of the garden, and he did it with not a moment’s hesitation. Then he called up to his sister and she followed right behind him. Fred and I were that proud!

7/5/22, pt 3/3 – We had our wings full with him, I can tell you, but he was a good boy really, and I was glad he was Pebble’s clutch mate. His hardiness was just what she needed to help her leave the nest and survive those first two weeks as fledglings. That’s the most difficult time, as you know. So many are lost, those first two weeks...

7/5/22, pt 2/3 – Where'd I get to last time? Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm? Ah, yes. Well, Pebbles was the sweetest squab, not a bother in the least, and never greedy for food or space in the nest. Bamm-Bamm, though – ooh, he was a little horror. Always hungry, always banging about, and kept trying to get out of the nest before he was proper fledged.

7/5/22, pt 1/3 – What a terrifying night. I was sitting on the nest, tending our eggs when the loudest booms and cracks exploded right over my head. It went on for hours and there was this horrible, choking smell in the air. I thought I would die, I really did. The white fanged beast was driven quite mad, and even my babes in the eggs kept jumping. Oh, was I relieved to see Fred this morning. What on earth was it?

6/29/22, pt 3/3 – I know it’s supposed to be safer to do nighttime nesting duty, but my goodness, it’s also dull as pond water. No one else has nested nearby since Imogen went, so there’s no one to talk to once the sun goes down. The only birds you hear are the ones you don’t want to hear, and then there’s the howls of the wild fanged beasts. We have a lot of them around here. Makes my feathers crawl to hear them.

6/29/22, pt 1/3 – My goodness, I only just got Salt and Pepper out of the nest on time. Had to get them out a day early, truth be told, because I could tell I would be laying an egg that very night! I told Fred it was all his doing, cooing and wanting to make more squabs when Salt and Pepper were barely hatched. I said, "for Ariel's Sake, can't a girl take a break?"

Having already achieved the same quota of clutches as last year, and Salt and Pepper still almost a week away from fledging, Fred is already cooing his 'Come on Eileen' song to Wilma in earnest. One can't help but admire his dedication to ensuring the survival of his species.

Happy inflation day to Fred and Wilma's two new squabs, Salt and Pepper. Inflation day is when the squabs suddenly become so big, their parents can't hide them anymore. One day there's no sign of them, then the next they are huge – like they inflated over night. Happened on day 8, this time. Salt and Pepper are finally able to enjoy the world around them.

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