Bible Birds – Dove, Turtledove and Pigeon’s Introduction

Common Pigeon -aka Rock(Columba livia) by Daves BirdingPix

Common Pigeon -aka Rock(Columba livia) by Daves BirdingPix

Bible Birds – Dove, Turtledove and Pigeon’s Introduction

Doves are in the Columbidae Family of the Columbiformes Order

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.

Sound from xeno-canto.

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 2 Neal Addy Gallery

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

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

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.)

See:

Bible Birds

Bible Birds – Doves and Pigeons

Columbidae Family

Wordless Birds

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The Long Christmas Journey

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©Flickr Oleg Sidorenko

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©Flickr Oleg Sidorenko

The Long Christmas Journey

~ by Emma Foster

Once there were two birds who lived in Portland, Oregon. Their names were Belinda and Steven and they were pigeons (a.k.a. Rock Doves).

Belinda and Steven lived on top of a stop-and-go light in the middle of a busy street where they had built their nest. They loved the city life so they didn’t mind all of the cars driving by, especially when they honked. They also didn’t mind all of the headlights that lit up the streets at night. Every day, Steven would fly through the city to search for food. And every day lots of cars would drive by.

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©Flickr Edward Townend

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©Flickr Edward Townend

As December drew near, it started to get colder. Eventually, snow started to fall. The more snow fell, the colder it became.

Belinda and Steven decided it was time for them to fly down south for the winter. They would spend Christmas down there just as they did every year. They both liked spending Christmas down where it was warm.

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©Flickr Andrey

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©Flickr Andrey

They started flying early the next morning because it was going to be a long journey to fly down south. As Belinda and Steven travelled, they were careful to not fly too high when they flew through the mountains because the tops of the mountains were cold and snowy. They flew past many mountains because Belinda and Steven were flying through the Rocky Mountains.

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©Flickr Ingrid Taylar

Eventually, after several hours, Belinda and Steven reached Death Valley. It was nice and warm there. But Death Valley was a little too warm for them. Fortunately there was a group of road runners that gave them directions to Arizona. Belinda and Steven were already in eastern California so it wasn’t that long of a flight to get there.

Belinda and Steven were able to fly to Arizona and made it there by Christmas Eve. It was nice and warm and the desert was filled with cactuses. Belinda and Steven decorated a cactus with some Christmas decorations they had brought with them so the cactus looked festive.

Together, Belinda and Steven had a wonderful Christmas, and they didn’t even mind that it would still be a long trip back to Oregon. They would have to come back to Arizona next year.

The End

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©Flickr Ken Slade

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©Flickr Ken Slade


Lee’s Addition:

Storks, doves, swallows, and thrushes all know when it’s time to fly away for the winter and when to come back. But you, my people, don’t know what I demand. (Jeremiah 8:7 CEV)

Thanks, Emma, for telling us about your migrating Pigeon friends, Belinda and Steven. Smart birds for escaping the winter cold up there in the Northwest.

Keep up the great stories. We are all enjoying them and you a gaining quite a fan club. We are looking forward to more stories through this New Year. Happy New Year.

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See more of Emma Foster’s Stories

ABC’s of the Gospel

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