So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:6-7 NKJV)
Words: Unknown author, 12th Century; translated from French to English by an anonymous translator.
Music: Orientis Partibus, medieval French melody
Birds in Christmas Hymns
The Friendly Beasts
Jesus, our Brother, strong and good,
Was humbly born in a stable rude,
And the friendly beasts around Him stood,
Jesus, our Brother, strong and good.
“I,” said the donkey, shaggy and brown,
“I carried His mother uphill and down,
I carried His mother to Bethlehem town;
I,” said the donkey, shaggy and brown.
“I,” said the cow, all white and red,
“I gave Him my manger for His bed,
I gave Him hay to pillow His head;
I,” said the cow, all white and red.
“I,” said the sheep with curly horn,
“I gave Him my wool for His blanket warm,
He wore my coat on Christmas morn;
I,” said the sheep with curly horn.
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) by Quy Tran
“I,” said the dove, from the rafters high,
“I cooed Him to sleep that He should not cry,
We cooed Him to sleep, my mate and I;
I,” said the dove, from the rafters high.
Thus all the beasts, by some good spell,
In the stable dark were glad to tell
Of the gifts they gave Emmanuel,
The gifts they gave Emmanuel.
‘I,’ was glad to tell
Of the gift he gave Emmanuel,
The gift he gave Emmanuel.
Jesus our brother, kind and good.
Christmas brings joy to every heart,
Sets old and young rejoicing,
What angels sang once to all on earth,
Oh, hear the children voicing.
Bright is the tree with lights aglow, Like birds that perch together,
The child that holdeth Christmas dear
Shall keep these joys forever.
Joy comes to the all the world today,
To halls and cottage hasting,
Come, sparrow and dove, from roof tree tall,
And share our Christmas feasting.
Dance, little child, on mother’s knee,
The lovely day is dawning,
The road to paradise is found
The blessèd Christmas morning.
Once to this earth our Savior came,
An infant poor and lowly,
To open for us those gardens fair
Where dwell His angels holy.
Christmas joy He bringeth us,
The Christ child King of heaven,
“To every little child,” He saith,
“Shall angel wings be given.”
A Psalm for Solomon. Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son. He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment. (Psalms 72:1-2 KJV)
Words by James Montgomery (1771-1854), 1821
[This hymn] is a metrical version of the Seventy-second Psalm. It was written as a Christmas hymn and was first sung on Christmas Day, 1821, at a great convocation of the Moravians in their settlement at Fulneck. At a Wesleyan missionary meeting, held in Liverpool on April 14 of the following year, 1822, when Doctor Adam Clarke presided, Montgomery made an address and closed it by the recital of this hymn with all of its verses…Doctor Clarke later used it in his famous Commentary in connection with his discussion of the Seventy-second Psalm.
Music: Ellacombe, Gesangbuch der Herzogl. Wirtembergischen Katholischen Hofkapelle (Württemberg, Germany: 1784); adapted & harmonized by William H. Monk in the 1868 appendix to Hymns Ancient and Modern, number 366
Birds in Christmas Hymns
Hail to the Lord’s Anointed
Hail to the Lord’s anointed, great David’s greater Son!
Hail in the time appointed, His reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression, to set the captive free;
To take away transgression and rule in equity.
He comes in succor speedy to those who suffer wrong;
To help the poor and needy, and bid the weak be strong;
To give them songs for sighing, their darkness turn to light,
Whose souls, condemned and dying, were precious in His sight.
By such shall He be fearèd while sun and moon endure;
Beloved, obeyed, reverèd; for He shall judge the poor
Through changing generations, with justice, mercy, truth,
While stars maintain their stations, or moons renew their youth.
He shall come down like showers upon the fruitful earth;
Love, joy, and hope, like flowers, spring in His path to birth.
Before Him, on the mountains, shall peace, the herald, go,
And righteousness, in fountains, from hill to valley flow.
Arabia’s desert ranger to Him shall bow the knee;
The Ethiopian stranger His glory come to see;
With offerings of devotion ships from the isles shall meet,
To pour the wealth of oceans in tribute at His feet.
Kings shall fall down before Him, and gold and incense bring;
All nations shall adore Him, His praise all people sing;
For He shall have dominion o’er river, sea and shore, Far as the eagle’s pinion or dove’s light wing can soar.
For Him shall prayer unceasing and daily vows ascend;
His kingdom still increasing, a kingdom without end:
The mountain dews shall nourish a seed in weakness sown,
Whose fruit shall spread and flourish and shake like Lebanon.
O’er every foe victorious, He on His throne shall rest;
From age to age more glorious, all blessing and all blest.
The tide of time shall never His covenant remove;
His name shall stand forever, His name to us is Love.
They are walking birds, feeding both on the ground and in trees; bill slender, grooved, nostrils opening in a fleshy membrane; tail variable, short and square, or long and pointed; feet stout, often reddish. Color usually grayish brown. Call-notes a characteristic cooing.
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 2 Neal Addy Gallery
Family Columbidae includes some 310 species. In general the terms “dove” and “pigeon” are used somewhat interchangeably. In ornithological practice, there is a tendency for “dove” to be used for smaller species and “pigeon” for larger ones, but this is in no way consistently applied, and historically the common names for these birds involve a great deal of variation between the terms “dove” and “pigeon.” This family occurs worldwide, but the greatest variety is in Indomalaya and Australasia. Young doves and pigeons are called “squabs.”
Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks, and have short slender bills with a fleshy cere. The species commonly referred to just as “pigeon” is the Feral Rock Pigeon, common in many cities.
Doves and pigeons build relatively flimsy nests from sticks and other debris, which may be placed in trees, on ledges or on the ground, depending on species. They lay one or two eggs, and both parents care for the young, which leave the nest after 7 to 28 days. Doves feed on seeds, fruit and plants. Unlike most other birds, the doves and pigeons produce “crop milk”, which is secreted by a sloughing of fluid-filled cells from the lining of the crop. Both parents produce this highly nutritious substance to feed to the young.
Victoria Crowned Pigeon (Goura victoria) by Lee at Zoo Miami
Pigeons and doves exhibit considerable variations in size. The largest species is the crowned pigeon of New Guinea, which is nearly turkey-sized, at a weight of 4.4-8.8 lb (2-4 kg) The smallest is the New World ground-dove of the genus Columbina, which is the same size as a House Sparrow and weighs as little as 22 g. With a total length of more than 19 in (50 cm) and weight of almost 2 lb (1 kg), the largest arboreal species is the Marquesan Imperial Pigeon, while the Dwarf Fruit Dove, which may measure as little as 5.1 in (13 cm), has a marginally smaller total length than any other species from this family. Smaller species tend to be known as doves, while larger species as pigeons.
Overall, the Columbidae tend to have short bills and legs, and small heads on large compact bodies. They have a habit of head bobbing was shown to be due to their natural desire to keep their vision constant. The wings are large and have low wing loadings; pigeons have strong wing muscles (wing muscles comprise 31–44% of their body weight) and are amongst the strongest fliers of all birds. They are also highly maneuverable in flight.
Superb Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus superbus) by Ian
The plumage (feathers and colors) of the family is variable. Granivorous (seed eater) species tend to have dull plumage, with a few exceptions, whereas the frugivorous (fruit eater) species have brightly-coloured plumage. The Ptilinopus fruit doves are some of the brightest coloured pigeons, with the three endemic species of Fiji and the Indian Ocean Alectroenas being amongst the brightest coloured. In addition to bright colours pigeons may sport crests or other ornamentation.
Seeds and fruit form the major component of the diet of pigeons and doves. In fact, the family can be divided into the seed-eating or granivorous species (subfamily Columbinae) and the fruit-eating or frugivorous species (the other four subfamilies). The granivorous typically feed on seed found on the ground, whereas the species that feed on fruit and mast tend to feed in trees.
Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “EVERY MALE WHO OPENS THE WOMB SHALL BE CALLED HOLY TO THE LORD” ), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS.” (Luke 2:22-24 NKJV)
In the Bible (Old Testament), doves or young pigeons were acceptable burnt offerings for those who couldn’t afford a more expensive animal. In the book of Genesis, Noah sent out a dove after the great flood in order to determine how far the floodwaters had receded. Dove is also a term of endearment in the Song of Songs and elsewhere.
When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. (Matthew 3:16 NKJV)
Jesus’ parents sacrificed doves on his behalf after his circumcision (Luke 2:24). Later the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus at his baptism like a dove (Matthew 3:16), and subsequently, the “peace dove” became a common Christian symbol of the Holy Spirit.
(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources.)
The Mourning Dove for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897
THE MOURNING DOVE.
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
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.”
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)
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.