Jeff MacPherson and the visitor he calls Al.  (Click to enlarge)


A little ornithological help here, please…

For the past month or so, a plump, impeccably white dove has been hanging around on South Street in Red Bank. Homeowner Jeff MacPherson calls the bird “Al,” a name given by his son, Jack. It’s short for “albino.”

redbankgreen came upon MacPherson and Al Thursday night, as the bird not-too-skittishly ate bits of bread MacPherson dropped at his feet.

But Tim & Peggy Carr, who live next door, call him – or her – “Allie.” Obviously, the Carrs think he is a she. Peggy speculates that Allie may be preggers.

So there’s the first order of business for a birder: which is it, Al or Allie?

And then: what on earth is he or she doing there?

The bird is quite sociable, which MacPherson discovered when he put some sunflower seeds out for it shortly after it arrived last month. The bird, he said, “just got closer and closer.”

Now, Al or Allie comes within inches of MacPherson as he sits on his front stoop. The bird will eat the seeds and bits of bread – “he doesn’t like the crust, for some reason,” says MacPherson – drooped between MacPherson’s feet. But, however tempted the bird appears, it just can’t bring itself to take food from a human hand.

The bird can fly, and whiles away the hours on the roof of the Carr’s porch, though there’s no sign of a nest.

Both sets of neighbors are puzzled as to where the bird came from, and why it chose to stay where it is. They’re wondering if it’s someone’s lost pet.

Anyone with insight is asked to contribute a comment below.