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Column: For the birds

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opinion Rosemount, 55024
Rosemount Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

Don't you love Spring? Whether it's packing away winter's heavy clothing or putting the flowery wreath on the front door, the rituals of this season can't be viewed as chores.

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My husband, who usually slumps his shoulders and grumbles a bit when I put a to-do list in front of him, never balks about any job at this time of year. Especially if involves the birds. We have birds all winter long but this is when I appreciate them the most.

It wasn't always so. When we lived in our old house, I didn't have time to watch the birds. I was too busy. But time off from work about 10 years ago changed all that. I was home recuperating when my husband suggested I sit in a different chair to read the morning paper so I could see the birds. I scoffed at the idea because I'd never had an interest in feathery creatures. But when a dove landed on the deck railing one morning and began to coo, I took notice. My interest was piqued further when he puffed up his chest and began pacing until he was joined by another dove. The two snuggled a bit, moved apart and then, sashayed towards each other again.

They repeated this ritual a couple of times a day for awhile. Soon, they were doing some serious canoodling. One thing led to another and I felt I should call my next door neighbor. She had young children and their kitchen table looked right towards my deck. "Close the blinds," I instructed her. "The doves are going at it like crazy."

When we moved to this twinhome nine years ago, I was sure we wouldn't have any birds. We barely had trees. The first spring, my husband saw a dove dusting in the dirt across the street and another on a neighbor's roof. We'd put up feeders as soon as we moved in but it wasn't until our second spring that I heard a familiar "Coo, coo." One of our doves had found us and landed on the long cylindrical feeder with the sunflower mixture. When another followed, I called my husband at work to tell him the news.

"They found us," I said, certain they were the same love birds who'd kept me company at our other house.

My husband has a million reasons why they're not but he hasn't convinced me. After all, they act the same. Every spring, the male woos his love. He courts her patiently -- just like he did at our old locale-- giving her time to adjust to his advances. Like before, they have a get-together with lots of other birds with whom they share the railing and food. I'm sure it's because they're renewing their wedding vows before they do their thing in front of me and their Maker. When I bring it up, my husband laughs at the idea and gives me the Bird 101 facts of life. I hum the bridal march as loud as I can until he gives up.

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