DEAR JOAN: Last year, a pair of doves nested in a hanging fuchsia plant just outside one of our windows, and one of the two resulting eggs hatched.
We watched him grow until he fledged and it appears that he may have come back this year with a Mrs. They now are raising their third batch of little doves.
The extent of their hard-wired behavior amazes me, and I enjoy having them in close view.
I have looked but haven't been able to identify a good book about wild doves. I've found information online, but I'd like to have something science-based so I can understand their behavior better, and so we can do whatever few things we can do to help out these little families. Do you have any recommendations, such as, don't repot the fuchsia?
The big birds in the yard seem to leave them alone, probably because the fuchsia is under the porch overhang, right beside our front door.
DEAR JANET: I'm afraid I don't have a good source for a book, but I would recommend a terrific website that has lots of information and links to even more. Check out the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's bird identification site, www.allaboutbirds.org.
If any birders out there are aware of a good book, let me know.
Otherwise, it sounds as if you are doing a great job by observing from a distance and providing them safe harbor. The Cornell site has instructions for making wire nests for them, so you may be able to expand your mourning dove habitat.
Up to their ears
The Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA's rabbit population has exploded, so the shelter is waiving rabbit adoption fees and looking for volunteers to help with the rabbits' care while they await adoption.
Shelter staff believe many of these rabbits were Easter impulse buys. Of the society's 58 rabbits, 49 have arrived in the weeks since the spring holiday.
"We're not at a crisis level but definitely feeling a sense of urgency," says Scott Delucchi, the group's spokesman.
The group is a bit concerned as the number of rabbits in shelters had been on a downward trend for the past decade.
The society places, on average, 200 to 300 rabbits into new homes each year.
"Rabbits make great companions," Delucchi says. "However, parents should know that rabbits are more fragile than they appear and they should always supervise their children's interactions with bunnies."
If you're allergic to cats and dogs, a rabbit may be a good match for you as most people with animal allergies have no problems with rabbits.
Rabbits can be trained to use a litter box and can live 10-12 years.
Many of the rabbits are available for adoption at the Center for Compassion, 1450 Rollins Road, Burlingame. It's open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. Potential adopters should arrive at least an hour before closing to complete an adoption. Some of the adoptable rabbits are featured online at www.peninsulahumanesociety.org/adopt/smallanimals.html.
If you're interested in fostering rabbits as a volunteer, contact Brian Probst at 650-340-7022, ext. 328 or Bprobst@PHS-SPCA.org.