Birds of the Bible – At the Lord’s Dedication

Oriental Turtle Dove (Streptopelia orientalis) by Nikhil

Oriental Turtle Dove (Streptopelia orientalis) by Nikhil

And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcision of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. (Luke 2:21-24 KJV) (emphasis mine)

When hearing about the “Christmas Story.” as some call it, most of the time it is quoted from Luke 2. Remember that chapter also mentions Christ’s circumcision and dedication. The sacrifice to be offered for that occasion was a lamb or either a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons.

European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) ©WikiC

European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) ©WikiC

Mary and Joseph were not wealthy and they were allowed to bring “A pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons. The proper offering was a lamb for a burnt offering, and a pigeon or dove for a sin offering; but for the poor an alternative was allowed instead of the more costly present of a lamb, a second pigeon or dove might be brought. The deep poverty of Mary and Joseph is shown in this offering. They would never have put the sanctuary off with the humbler had the richer gift been in their power.” (Pulpit Commentary – emphasis mine)

Common Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus) with newly hatched young ©WikiC

Common Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus) with newly hatched young ©WikiC

The fact that Joseph and Mary brought a pair of birds instead of a lamb shows that they were very poor. The gifts of the wise men were after this.” (People’s New Testament Commentary) At the nativity scene, many place the wise men, yet, Christ was a young child, not an infant when they, the wise men, arrived. It would have taken time for them to get there.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11 KJV)

More could be said about the birth of Christ here, but for today, our Birds of the Bible are these two birds from the Columbidae Family. If I were Emma Foster or my author friend Sandra Conner, you would hear a tale from the birds point of view. But the best that comes to mind would be them having a conversation about the privilege of being the ones used as a sacrifice for the Son of God, in the flesh, who was their Creator. Of all the doves and turtle dove used as sacrifices over the many years, these two, if a bird could, felt very blessed.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. (Luke 2:11-16 KJV)


Pigeons and Doves of Israel today:

Birds of the Bible

Columbidae Family

Emma Foster

Sandra Conner

Gospel Presentation


Vol. 2, No. 3 – The Mourning Dove

The Mourning Dove for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

The Mourning Dove for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897


Dear Young Bird Lovers:

Most every person thinks that, while my actions are very pretty and attractive, and speak much in my favor, I can only really say, Coo-o, Coo-o, which they also think does not mean anything at all. Well, I just thought I would undeceive them by writing you a letter. Many grown up people fancy that we birds cannot express ourselves because we don’t know very much. Of course, there is a good reason why they have this poor opinion of us. They are so busy with their own private concerns that they forget that there are little creatures like ourselves in the world who, if they would take a little time to become acquainted with them, would fill their few hours of leisure with a sweeter recreation than they find in many of their chosen outings. A great English poet, whose writings you will read when you get older, said you should look through Nature up to Nature’s God. What did he mean? I think he had us birds in his mind, for it is through a study of our habits, more perhaps than that of the voiceless trees or the dumb four-footed creatures that roam the fields, that your hearts are opened to see and admire real beauty. We birds are the true teachers of faith, hope, and charity,—faith, because we trust one another; hope, because, even when nature seems unkind, sending the drifting snow and the bitter blasts of winter, we sing a song of summer time; and charity, because we are never fault finders.

I believe, without knowing it, I have been telling you about myself and my mate. We Doves are very sincere, and every one says we are constant.

If you live in the country, children, you must often hear our voices. We are so tender and fond of each other that we are looked upon as models for children, and even grown-up folks. My mate does not build a very nice nest—only uses a few sticks to keep the eggs from falling out—but she is a good mother and nurses the little ones very tenderly. Some people are so kind that they build for us a dove cote, supply us with wheat and corn, and make our lives as free from care and danger as they can. Come and see us some day, and then you can tell whether my picture is a good one. The artist thinks it is and he certainly took lots of pains with it.

Now, if you will be kind to all birds, you will find me, in name only,

From col. F. M. Woodruff. Copyrighted by Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.



MOURNING DOVE.Zenaidura macrura. Other names: “Carolina Dove,” “Turtle Dove.”

Range—Whole of temperate North America, south to Panama and the West Indies.

Nest—Rim of twigs sufficient to retain the eggs.

Eggs—Usually two; white.

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) by Quy Tran

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) by Quy Tran

Lee’s Addition:

So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. (Psalms 55:6 NKJV)

Doves are mentioned many times throughout Scripture therefore making them on of our Birds of the Bible. Below are the sounds of a song of this Dove and also the sound of the Mourning Dove flying. You can hear how they named it “mourning.”

Dove Song

Wing Sound

The Mourning Dove is a member of the Columbidae – Pigeons, Doves Family. They have over 330 cousin doves and pigeon that are part of the family. Doves and Turtledoves are mentioned 47 times in the NKJV.

“The bird is also called the Turtle Dove or the American Mourning Dove or Rain Dove, and formerly was known as the Carolina Pigeon or Carolina Turtledove. It is one of the most abundant and widespread of all North American birds. It is also the leading gamebird, with more than 20 million birds (up to 70 million in some years) shot annually in the U.S., both for sport and for meat. Its ability to sustain its population under such pressure stems from its prolific breeding: in warm areas, one pair may raise up to six broods a year.

Its plaintive woo-OO-oo-oo-oo call gives the bird its name. The wings can make an unusual whistling sound upon take-off and landing. The bird is a strong flier, capable of speeds up to 55 mph (88 km/h).

Mourning Doves are light grey and brown and generally muted in color. Males and females are similar in appearance. The species is generally monogamous, with two squabs (young) per brood. Both parents incubate and care for the young. Mourning Doves eat almost exclusively seeds, but the young are fed crop milk by their parents.

The Mourning Dove occupies a wide variety of open and semi-open habitats, such as urban areas, farms, prairie, grassland, and lightly wooded areas. It avoids swamps and thick forest. The species has adapted well to areas altered by humans. It commonly nests in trees in cities or near farmsteads.

Most Mourning Doves migrate along flyways over land. On rare occasions, mourning doves have been seen flying over the Gulf of Mexico; but this is exceptional. Spring migration north runs from March to May. Fall migration south runs from September to November, with immatures moving first, followed by adult females and then by adult males. Migration is usually during the day, in flocks, and at low altitudes. However, not all individuals migrate. Even in Canada some mourning doves remain through winter, sustained by the presence of bird feeders.” (Wikipedia)


Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for September 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited


(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – How The Birds Secured Their Rights

The Previous Article – The Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

Wordless Birds


Bible Birds – Doves and Pigeons

Mourning Dove – Wikipedia

Mourning Dove – All About Birds

Mourning Doves – National Geographic