The Love Dove

By Michael P. Spriegel | May 7th, 2021

A Mother’s Day Tale

A mourning dove mother and babies in the nest. Watching a bird family in the nest

A few years ago, I had a hot tub in a small enclosed patio in back of my house. On the wall directly above the hot tub was a decorative wire shelf. One year a pair of doves decided that the shelf was prime real estate, and they began building a nest.

Momma Dove (Donna) would wait patiently on the shelf for daddy dove (Danny) to return from Home Depot with building material that she would arrange with a keen eye for proper feng shui. As far as architecture goes, it was nothing to write home about. It was strictly utilitarian, and Martha Stewart would been horrified at the interior decorating, but it was home-sweet-home for Donna and Danny Dove. During the entire construction process, I was astounded that the happy couple was completely unfazed by me sitting in the gurgling hot tub within arm’s length, sipping martinis. Donna even let me stroke her head.

Well, it soon became obvious that Donna was with egg, so to speak, and after a few weeks she produced two of them. Donny dutifully flew in worms, bugs, and other delicacies for Donna (apparently they didn’t have a GrubHub account); Donna was especially fond of Dove Bars, which did nothing beneficial for her figure. I have no idea where Danny slept at night, but a little birdy told me that he was known to hang out with his bird buddies, drinking, smoking cigars, and getting lap dances from some chick named Robin, who was known for her scarlet breast.

Anyway, one day I noticed movement under Donna’s protective wings, and I caught a glimpse of her featherless offspring. They were the ugliest things I had ever seen … but knowing that all mothers regard their children as beautiful, I lied and told her that her babies (Doug and Denise) were adorable; she cooed her approval.

Feathering Their Nests – the nest-building habits of backyard birds

Meanwhile, Danny was nowhere to be seen, and I assumed that he had been called away on an extended business trip, but I got suspicious when Robin disappeared at the same time.

The kids began gaining in size and looking more like birds with each passing day, and they soon crowded Donna to the point where she regretted not having built a separate nursery. Donna finally got fed up and nudged them out of the nest onto the hot tub cover, which served as a first-class flight school.

Watching a bird family in the nest: Life takes flight

I’d be lying if I told you that, as a doting uncle, I didn’t shed a tear the day I went out to visit them and nobody was home. Fortunately, I had snapped a few pictures for the family album, but they didn’t leave a forwarding address where I could send it.

Well, to my utmost delight, Donna and Danny returned the following year and took up residence in the nest that I had thoughtfully left for them so they wouldn’t have to apply for a new construction loan. They came back again the next year, but I don’t know if they continued to use their rent-free timeshare after that, because I sold the house. But I did make sure the shelf conveyed with the sale, and the contract stipulated that Donna and Danny had squatter’s rights in perpetuity.


Mike Spriegel is a retired human resources manager and former Richmond resident who is trying his hand as a writer, inventor, and businessman. He currently resides in Fairlawn, Virginia.

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