I am Piep*, a young turtledove with the Latin name of Streptopelia turtur. I live in Ness-Ziona, Israel. My parents built a nest in a windowsill, behind a flowerpot and my mother laid 2 eggs. My proud parents brood us during 14 to 21 days. End of May, 1992, I was born naked; my brother followed the next day. Soon small yellow feathers started to grow.



Our parents took care of us, on turn. They would relay each other every few hours, which would give rise to a small elegant ballet with lot’s of singing: toorr, toorr, toorr, ... We grew quickly thanks to the food of our parents. It is a sort of “milk” that they draw back from their stomach and feed us.

One day, unfortunately, my brother vanished, and was not found anymore. My parents were so distressed that they abandoned me in the nest.

This is when I met my first humans, Esther, Arie and Louise. They cared for my survival and took me in the house, after my parents did not show up anymore. I was given a cardboard box, filled with cloth material and tissue, to sleep. I loved my box and would hide under the tissue when feeling a bit cold. I was also fed at regular intervals, and if food would not arrive on time, I would start making little noises: piiiiiip, piiiiiip, piiiiiip. My human friends have started to call me Piep since then.

My wings became soon an additional tool to attract attention for food. One morning, around the 3rd week post-hatching, food was late to come. I decided to go out of my cardboard and try to find something to eat. Guess what ?

I could fly !!!

It was not yet perfect and I would find myself in some delicate situations, like landing in the middle of a plant...




From now on, I enjoy total freedom to discover the apartment !

And droppings ? Since the beginning of my human experiment, I was trained to do them on a piece of white tissue and I kept this good habit. Unfortunately, I made some small errors. Esther’s bed sheets are indeed also white, so I left a few droppings there too. She was never angry, and soon I knew the difference between a paper towel and cloth material.

My days are rather filled. I am late to get up, on the contrary of my wild brothers. Impossible to get me out of my basket before 8.30 in the morning !!! When one attempts to do so, I will return in my basket till the right time. Once awake, I will start a series of yawning, wing stretching and feet exercises. This can take up to 15 minutes. When ready, I will fly onto the dining table, where I find my breakfast. This consists of a variety of grains, some fresh fruit, dry bread and water.

Between 9 AM and noon, I usually nap in the sun, washing and brushing my growing feathers. I remove the skin layer that covers them, groom them and put them in the right arrangement. In the afternoon, I usually fly around in the apartment, eat grains, and nap.




I got used to the departure of Esther, in the morning, and her return in the late afternoon. Sometimes, I feel a bit sad that she leaves in the morning. I would then fly on top of a shoe and wait. Each time, she will pick me up, and rub my feathers while uttering pleasing words in my ears.

After this, I am ready to spend the day alone.




As soon as she comes home, I follow her everywhere through the apartment. She will prepare herself a coffee, and settle on the couch in the living room. This makes me very happy. On a sign of her hand, I will fly and settle on her shoulder. We can stay a few hours like this, without moving. Sometimes, Esther falls asleep and I will make myself comfortable too, till she gets awake.




At the end of the evening, we are both tired. I will usually climb in my basket, turn a bit around and settled on my small pillow. I fall quickly asleep, till 8.30 next day…



* Unfortunately, the nice story of Piep ended unexpectedly on July 30, 1992. Piep died of a heart attack, minutes after an enormous explosion in an ammunition store. (S)He was buried in a garden, under a nice flowering shrub.



Jerusalem Post, July 31, 1992