It's amazing how things happen sometimes. A couple of weeks ago, my wife was trimming bushes on the south side of the house. By her own account, she was somewhat mindlessly trimming away when she went over the nest of a Mourning Dove and nearly decapitated the resident--a not too young baby. Fortunately she/he ducked. The damage, however, was done. The nest was exposed and the hot sun beat down on it. She was so upset with her self and the plight of the mother and baby. I went to look, and it appeared to me that the baby was not too far from leaving the nest. He/she sat there indignantly, looking at me like I had invaded his privacy and needed to leave as soon as possible, especially since someone had just taken the roof off his house and nearly did him in during the process! I suggested that she take an old umbrella--hundreds of which, it seems, are in every closet in the house--jam the handle down into the bush and position it so that the nest would be shaded. She chose a rather garish one, but it did the trick. The mother returned to the nest, and sat there proudly as we went about our business, going past the bush. She never made an attempt to fly away. A few days later, I saw her flying with her young fledgling, and the nest was empty. It was time to take down the umbrella. It had seen better days before it was enlisted as temporary housing cover for the dove, so it was definitely bound for the trash. However...
I got the idea that a couple of Corgi babies might like to play with it since they seemed entertained by almost anything--the more far-out the better. It put it on the deck and a small gust of wind slid it nearly to the opposite end, and Huey and Taffy went nuts. They LOVED it. They barked, they chased, they grabbed it and pulled it all over the deck. Before we knew it, they had picked it up together and were taking it down the stairs--no easy task. But they managed it and proceeded to drag it all over the back lawn. What a sight they were.
Unfortunately, we have not needed an umbrella for its intended purpose for a long time here in this part of Central Illinois. The weather announcers keep promising and keep missing. But it's nice to know that an old umbrella still has a purpose--to protect nearly disenfranchised doves and to entertain a couple of Corgi babies!