One of Jean's rescued critters has been returned to the great outdoors. The dove was only a few days old when it was discovered after having been blown out of its nest. A homeowner had found it on the ground under a tree while mowing his lawn. It was brought to Jean and hand raised. The work that goes into rescuing a small animal or bird is not unlike the first few weeks of life for a human infant. They have to be cleaned, fed every three hours through the night and every two hours all day, have their abdomen stroked to stimulate the intestinal track. Hot water bottles are warmed at every feeding, wrapped in fleece to prevent accidental burns, and placed in the cage to keep them from being chilled.
After being released, the dove stopped waiting for Jean to clean it, and
started preening on its own. Its feathers now look smooth and silky.
Finally the bird was weened to solid food, move progressively to larger and larger cages so they strengthen their wings, and provided with perches of different materials and sizes to strengthen their feet. When this one appeared ready, Jean opened the cage door. The animal is routinely left to make their own decision, and is not just thrown into the air. Sometimes they go in and out of the cage for several days, and back and forth to the guaranteed food supply, before deciding to make on their own. This one, however, seemed confident that it was ready to go. It flew first from the patio up onto the eave of the house. Shorly it flew a sortie around the yard and landed on the peak of the roof. Within a couple minutes another dove landed next to it, then another. Shortly there were about ten other doves joining to welcome the new kid to the neighborhood. We have seen it here several times, and it seems to be doing fine and is part of a large local community of doves.