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      Nature Report: Ground Doves

      Tucked in the crook of an old mesquite limb is a barely discernible sign of life.

      A pair of newly hatched ground doves squirms down in the woody depression trying to keep as low a profile as possible to avoid detection by any sharp eyed predator. The vulnerable little birds share an innate survival instinct and don't expose themselves.

      While the nest is unattended, an inquisitive wren lands on the limb and briefly inspects the chicks before flitting away, but the babies don't budge. All caution is abandoned with the arrival of breakfast.

      The two chicks perk up immediately and jostle for position.

      Each youngster attempts to insert its bill into the adults, and eventually both babies get fed. The feeding continues for several minutes, and somehow the parent manages to handle both babies at once.

      A double lip lock lasts for a full three minutes.

      Finally, breakfast is over and for a while they snuggle beneath their parent's breast feathers for a nap. Siesta time is brief, and it is not long before the demanding duo bobs up for more chow.

      As the double feeding technique resumes, another parent alights.

      There is no interruption in the routine, however, as the little ones are totally focused on receiving further nutrition.

      For a few moments the entire family is united on the limb. After nearly 20 minutes on the nest, most of it spent feeding young, the first adult departs, and parent number two assumes responsibility of the hungry pair of young ground doves.