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Staying Home On COVID-19 Lockdown Has Turned This Kansas City Woman Into A Serious Bird Watcher

Shannon Lindgren
For weeks, Shannon Lindgren watched from her apartment window as two baby mourning doves hatched, learned to fly and eventually left the nest.

Now that we’re spending more time at home, you might find yourself looking out your window more.

It’s unlikely you’ll get as lucky as one Kansas City woman did, though.

Shannon Lindgren was a little nervous when she and her husband had to start working from their 5th floor apartment on the Plaza. To give herself some space, she decided to convert their dining room into a makeshift office. In hindsight, this idea was a very good one.

Shortly after getting set up, Lindgren spotted a bird nest, with eggs, on the window ledge.

"I don't even know if I would have noticed them if I hadn't been sitting there," she says. "They were probably there for at least a week before I saw them."

Lindgren had heard mourning doves outside her apartment building, so it was easy to identify who the nest belonged to. She definitely wasn't what you would call a bird watcher, though. She sometimes glanced up at birds flying past the window of her usual office at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, but that was about it.

Credit Shannon Lindgren

After five days of watching the nest, Lindgren noticed that at least one of the eggs had hatched. Now officially glued to scene, she began posting what she could see of the family on her Instagram feed — to the delight of her family and friends.

“Most of the time, (the parents) were sitting on top of the babies, keeping them warm and safe, so we couldn’t get a really good look at them.”

        View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Shannon Lindgren (@shannbree) on Mar 23, 2020 at 8:01am PDT

In her spare time, Lindgren found herself researching mourning doves.

She loved how they often mated for life and shared parenting responsibilities.

Finally, after 10 days of watching, the female dove made eye contact with her, almost as though she was inviting Lindgren over to come see the babies.

Credit Shannon Lindgren

Credit Shannon Lindgren

That's when things started moving fast.

“They went from being tiny to already starting to flap their wings within about a week," said Lindgren.

On day 15, she started to anticipate their imminent departure from the nest.

Credit Shannon Lindgren

        View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Shannon Lindgren (@shannbree) on Apr 1, 2020 at 9:28am PDT

Then before Lindgren knew it, 20 days had passed since she had first started watching a pair of eggs in a nest. And she was an empty nester.

Credit Shannon Lindgren

Credit Shannon Lindgren

Lindgren says she's sad to see them go, but happy to know they'll be close to home for a few more weeks until they become fully independent.

Plus, who knows who might take up residence next? She recently saw a new bird spending a lot of time in another one of her windows.

She’s crossing her fingers that more baby birds will be in her future.

Shannon Lindgren spoke with KCUR at the end of a recent episode of Up To Date Special Coverage: Coronavirus In KC. You can listen to their entire conversation here and follow her on Instagram @shannbree.

Mackenzie Martin is an associate producer for KCUR's Central Standard. Reach out to her at mackenzie@kcur.org or on Twitter @_macmartin.

Whether it’s something happening right now or something that happened 100 years ago, some stories don’t fit in the short few minutes of a newscast. As a podcast producer at KCUR, I help investigate questions and local curiosities in a way that brings listeners along for adventures with plot twists and thought-provoking ideas. Sometimes there isn’t an easy answer in the end – but my hope is that we all leave with a greater understanding of the city we live in. Reach me at mackenzie@kcur.org or find me on Twitter @_macmartin.