• Love at First Sight for Two Rescued Doves

    by Peter Mounteer

    On Saturday, April 27 around six o’clock in Pacific Grove it was dark and cold and the downtown buzz had settled into a quiet hum as America’s Last Home Town shut down for the day. Sherry Litchfield was closing Blessings Boutique with colleague Barbara Moore when a white dove wandered by. Realizing that the bird would likely die that evening from cold and exposure, Sherry took initiative. She and Moore cornered the dove and took it inside, placing it in a small bird cage the shop had on hand. Litchfield and Moore named the bird Angel and placed him in a bigger bird cage Litchfield had purchased shortly thereafter, and kept him in the store. Several days later, another Blessings employee, Litta Sughair of Monterey, noticed a quarrel between two similar white doves and a crow in her backyard. The crow had killed one of the doves and wounded the other before Sughair was able to reach it.

    Crows are common predatory birds that live almost everywhere on the North American continent. Though not known for their overall aggressiveness as a species, like most animals crows will become aggressive when they feel as though their young are being threatened by the presence of another creature in their territory, according the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Spring is also mating and nesting season which puts the dove found by Sughair right in the middle of reproductive season when these birds are most territorial.

    According to Litchfield, the dove Sughair recovered had been wounded on its head, but the pair felt as though the laceration would heal on its own, and simply placed the second bird (which they named Grace, after the street Sughair lives on) into the same cage as Angel. There was no tension between the two birds at all, according to Litchfield, Angel took care of Grace and made sure she was well cared for.

    Well that old phrase about birds and bees when Spring comes around certainly applies to these two lovebirds, who took the Blessings Boutique staff by surprise when Grace laid two eggs, and it became apparent that Grace and Angel were female and male, respectively. White doves, which are essentially better looking pigeons, usually lay two eggs, so the number bequeathed to the Blessings staff is ordinary. The interesting part is this: according to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection these birds are monogamous and thereby mate for life. However, if a dove’s mate dies, it will select another. Though just speculation, Litchfield believes that Grace and Angel’s mates both died in the wild, possibly after a flock of them were released for the 2013 Big Sur International Marathon opening ceremony, which took place the same weekend she and Moore found Angel wandering around outside their storefront.

    The babies hatched on June 17th and 18th, and will remain nameless until July 17th, when the Blessings staff will conduct a drawing of potential names for the two babies. Submissions are already being accepted, and will be up until the date of the drawing, which occurs on Sunday, July 17th at 3:00p.m. Litchfield intends to keep the four birds in a bigger cage for the rest of their lives “The story is so beautiful, I would never let anything happen to them,” she said in an interview. Litchfield, who owned a pair of dove years ago, is well equipped to provide them the care they need, with a large cage and several different types of bird feed on hand at Blessings Boutique.

    The shop is a cooperative, with some seventeen other women, and has been in business for four years. It was so named after a meeting between Litchfield and three other women who wanted to start a cooperative in Pacific Grove selling all kinds of items. After the meeting it became clear that without their own building, the co-op would be doomed to failure. While walking back to her car, Litchfield noticed a for rent sign for a space in the same building as the former Pacific Grove Bulletin, which Blessings sits atop of, and across the walkway from the much beloved International Cuisine. She contacted building owner Greg Beardsley whom she knows personally, and secured the space for the new co-op, which was named Blessings, in Litchfield’s words, “because it was a blessing that that sign was in the window!”

    Dove Love: Angel and Grace are two white doves which were rescued outside Blessings Boutique in Pacific Grove. It is possible they each had lost a mate, but they took to each other and baby doves were hatched earlier this month. They already have their pinfeathers.

    photos by Peter Mounteer

    posted to Cedar Street Times on June 28, 2013

    Topics: Features, Peter Mounteer

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