On the way to school this morning, Lily glimpsed a mourning dove: “Daddy, I saw a mourning dove.” And with that one observation, the following narrative unfolded:
“I think it was Butter, Daddy.” (I had dubbed two mourning doves that frequented our back yard last year, Butter and Garlic. Later, B & G were joined by a half dozen friends, who were all taking advantage of us dumping piles of bird food on the patio. Within a week a hawk turned up on Lily’s play set and the doves were seen less frequently.)
“Do you think our friends are still around, honey?”
“Yes, and they have a new friend, too!”
“Toast!” Peals of triumphant laughter.
As our drive continued, it turns out that Butter and Garlic and Toast occasionally played with a hummingbird, but eventually that friendship disbanded in favor of a fourth mourning dove called Berry Bush. While B & G were boy birds, T and BB were girl birds. The occasional fifth bird, Greckle — who was not a grackle, was also a boy bird. They liked to play games in a field on Mount Vernon, the street on which we travel on the way to Lily’s school, and therefore won’t be far from our new home.