Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Out the Back Window 03-18-13

Death of a Dove

This is a story of something that happened at our back window nearly two years ago.

It had been quite a while since I last used the window cleaning tools to reach those on the second floor. Maybe I would get around to it soon. But, I was in no hurry.

There was a loud thud on the window. Birds will often do that as they come and go at our feeders. Sure enough, there was a faint outline of a bird in flight on the glass. A Dove was dead on the patio below. A few small feathers stuck to the glass where it made impact. I could barely make out some other features on the glass.

Come below for more.

That night, with the room lights off, I put the camera on a tripod pointing at the impact spot from the inside to the darkness outside. I set the camera for a 6 second time exposure. There is another window to the right of this one. I reached out and painted the crash site from the right side with a small flashlight during the 6 seconds.

What a surprise. A leg extended down. Curved wings showed up clearly. The neck was twisted badly and probably broke upon impact. Some minor editing cleaned up the dirty window surrounding the outline. But, there it was, almost like a photograph of the crash. I’m glad I wasn’t in a hurry to wash that window.

Do you have interesting things happening in your back yard?


  1. The little birds were startled and headed for cover in the bushes. It sat about 30 ft away for nearly half an hour. The little birds held as still as possible. Once they felt a little safer, they make quick dashes to get out of the area.

    Things are back to normal now. No hawk and busy feeding birds.

  2. The bank building where I worked was a nest site for peregrine falcons. The bird ghosts on the windows were large. I never saw bird carcasses on the ledge outside the windows. I always assumed the falcons chased pigeons into the windows. Once their necks were broken, they were carried away and eaten.  

  3. slksfca

    …and of old stories, here’s one.

    I used to be awakened every day at dawn by a mourning dove’s soothing call. I never knew exactly where she was perched, but I did come to learn that she was a SHE after she built a next on my back porch under a potted rosemary bush. Right away there were two little speckled eggs in the nest, and I would always carefully peek through my back door’s window before going onto the porch so as not to frighten or disturb her.

    Well, one day I was at my desk committing some nonsense or other on the computer, when there was a terrible fracas out back. I raced to the back door and through the window saw the flash of a blue jay’s wings heading off toward Golden Gate Park.

    Looking down at the dove’s nest, I could see that both eggs had been broken open.

    After that the dove disappeared and I never heard her call again. I still miss her after more than ten years.

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