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September 20, 2011 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Rain? Cat-meat-baby gotta dance.

Stunned. Absolutely delirious with delight. One small brown dove perched out in the open. Four pairs of “older” adult dove pairs, in strict survival mode, sheltered under the palm branches during the sudden light shower .

It was the “runt” of this summer’s few surviving hatchlings. Lethargic and slow to make the hop from fence to bird feeder to learn to feed himself, we figured he’d be cat meat. Much too trusting – or weak to survive. With the drought, it’s not been a kind season for baby birds. He never seems to go too far from this fence or the bird feeder – even if all the others fly off. Reluctant to spend the energy. He’d just huddle down as if to say, “I’ll take my chances here.”

I guess we got more rain today because of his little rain dance. He twisted his head around – examining the tiny wet droplets plopping on his head. Then he half unfolded his left wing and held it away from his body – like airing out his feathered armpit. That wing was snapped shut against his body for a minute before he stretched it out full length like a sail above his head. The slight breeze lifting the still downy under-feathers. Next, he efficiently folded that one up with his whole body in quivering in delight before repeating the routine with his right wing: wing partially unfolded, closed quickly in hesitation, before flinging that wing up high – stretching it out completely with obvious joy.  And repeat the whole routine. Multiple times. It was like he was doing the hokey pokey.  He was dancing like that duck in the Aflac insurance commercial where the duck break dances. Was  he imitating what he’d seen through the window on TV? “Dancing with the Stars,” perhaps?

I suddenly realized this little guy may have never seen rain before.

Wish I’d been able to catch that on video. It would have gone viral!

But the scene just seemed too unguarded – to intimate – to be exploited.

Unaffected sunset of childhood. Enjoy it cat-meat-baby. May you find a wise mate that will warn you of danger, yet allow you to be free.

Fond of the tiny feathered one,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge


  1. Maxim / Sep 20 2011 10:08 pm

    That’s wonderful. Do you think the bird will be ok?


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 20 2011 11:25 pm

      Little guy seems to be flourishing. It’s cooler(months of over 100 degrees and no rain is stressful). There’s food,water,and shelter available…and another small dove seems to be staying close by – so maybe they will pair up. Been concerned he was so small that he wouldn’t find a mate. (But what he lacks in size, he makes up in confidence and courage.) The only serious challenge will be the hawks that winter here.
      Thanks for stopping by!



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