The Inca Doves are growing in their nest and will soon fledge. Pictured above are the babies on 4-21-06; their penfeathers had emerged but the barbs of the feathers hadn’t fluffed out yet. They were still covered with lots of baby down. While photographing the mother on the nest I waited for her to leave and come back with food for her babies. She never left but instead fed her babies “pigeon milk.” Doves have a unique way to provide protein to their young. They secrete a milky fluid rich in protein and fat in the crop. The young are fed this diet for the first few days and then they begin to receive a mixture of “milk” and partially digested seeds or fruit. To be fed, the young bird will insert its bill into the corner of the parent’s mouth and the adult will regurgitate the milk or the mixture for the young to eat. I watched the parent feed both babies at once, one on each side of the mouth. To see how big the babies are now, click here.