Donna the dove on her nest Devoted Donna on her nest

Against all odds

At least they weren't hard boiled

It was an overly-optimistic attempt from the outset. Plucky. Brave. Courageous even — or simply foolhardy.

But Donna the dove was undeterred. She gave in to her nesting instincts, even if they were late by nature's timetable for such things. For days she sat resolutely on two small white eggs in her nest, perched precariously in the palm tree by the front door Chez Paul. Even the hubbub surrounding the Great Flood did not daunt; she simply watched serenely the parade of plumbers, clean-up crew, and neighbors.

Legions of viewers stayed tuned to the Chez Paul webcam, hoping to catch a glimpse of her, carefully camouflaged among the palm fronds. This was reality web at its best, the opportunity to be present as the fledglings began life.

stained tile

Alas, the odds have beaten Donna. When I returned home last night I immediately noticed an ominous stain on the tiles below the palm. With trepedation I raised my eyes. The nest was gone! Not abandoned, gone. Simply gone.

remnants of nest

It has come to this: an ugly stain and a few wisps of dried grass caught on a rock.

What happened? We'll never know.

• It could be that a strong wind gave the tree a good shaking. The nest was shoddily constructed; it would not have taken much.

• It could be that a marauding crow or a malicious mockingbird plundered the nest for a quick snack; nature is quite unsentimental about things like that.

• Or, it could simply be that it was not meant to be.

We'll never know.

Update. Friend Tony writes, "Funny how the same thing happens to others. Same story at this end..."