It would not be an exaggeration to say I spent upwards of 90 minutes a day researching how best to support them.
Things I learned from The Google:
"Don't approach." Check.
"Don't touch the nest." Of course not, what am I 12?
"Do understand that not all eggs are viable. If this happens, the doves will abandon the nest ... and the eggs. They will also do so if they sense danger." Since I knew intrinsically that our porch was the safest possible coordinate on the planet for this couple's baby birds (and had immediately ceased taking our dog out the front door upon their arrival), this was not a remote possibility.
Conditions were perfect!
Thus began my 13 days and nights of nonchalantly checking on them through the window every hour or so (upside of teleworking: you get to monitor everything, all the time, by way of procrastination). Not in a scary, stalker "You will not leave!" kind of way, but rather in an "You've got this and I've got you" kind of way. Mostly.
You know where this is going. On day 14, two tiny baby doves were born. Mama and papa took turns feeding and cleaning up after them and I video'd each FIRST FLIGHT moment!
It went more like life. It went more like this: on the second Thursday, I tiptoed downstairs with my coffee because their cooing didn't wake me up per usual. They weren't there. Probably getting their breakfast together for once! A day date!
When they had not returned by dinner despite me quizzing my husband on the topic half a dozen times throughout the day—he especially loves my catastrophizing and/or futurecasting when he's on deadline—I was still in the throes of suspended disbelief.
"Some eggs are duds," he said (unthinking!) right before bed. "If so, it's just nature doing its thing."
"Um, I think NOT. They will be back by morning," was my riposte, just before staring at the ceiling for six hours.
The mournings (cruel name) were not back by morning. They had bailed. Probably in Cabo. Their one-way ticket to Their Next Nest did not preclude more magical thinking on my part. Maybe if I continue to monitor the eggs, they will still hatch, for example. Or I can feed them worms from the pet store when they hatch. And because they were so close -- Day 14! -- they will be fine.
By Sunday, the eggs disappeared. No protective, much less remorseful, parents in sight.
This development did not sit well. I thought about the abandoned, would-be babies. A lot. Vanquished. Some flippin' vermin's dinner.
It was still early in the season. I considered the power of my thoughts to bring them back. After all, some dove couples have up to three broods a season and it was only March!
Smash cut: I'm sitting in an Authentic Relating Birthday Circle for a dear friend when it hits me.
I'm the damn egg.
And I've got some sorting to do around that.