28 November 2010 by Kate Turkington

Delia the Laughing dove

She arrived in my life a few weeks ago. I came home very late one night, inserted my key into the front door and heard a strangled ‘peep’. There she was sitting sedately on her twiggy nest on top of my climbing hoya, which has now reached up to the roof.

The tropical hoya (apocynaceae or dogbane family) is actually native to southern Asia, but it does very well here in Johannesburg. Sometimes called ‘wax flowers’ on a warm Highveld evening their sweet fragrance perfumes the air. Bees also love them for their nectar.

Delia, the Laughing dove, is obviously an aesthete. My other doves in the garden have built in bushes or trees, but she has surrounded herself with beauty. The first couple of times anybody used the front door she flew up in alarm leaving a scattering of pink and grey feathers on the door step. Then she got used to the comings and goings and just gazed serenely at us.

A couple of weeks ago two little heads appeared above the nest and today, two small Delia-look-alikes are fully feathered and overflowing the sides of the nest. Any day now surely they will go on their first training flight.

My dog, Gemma, keeps the neighbourhood cats away, so all should be well. However, I go travelling for a week as from tomorrow so won’t know their final fate.

Please keep your fingers crossed…

Category: Adventure

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