The dove is a universal symbol of peace and innocence. In ancient Greek myth it was a bird of Athene which represented the renewal of life.
In the Bible it was a dove released from the Ark by Noah which returned with an olive branch to show that the Biblical flood was over. Ever since, the dove has symbolised deliverance and God’s forgiveness.
According to legend the devil and witches can turn themselves into any bird shape except the dove.
In ancient Japan the dove was sacred to Hackiman the god of war, but it was a dove with a sword which announced the end to war.
The dove is associated with hope, peace and purity. It has become popular to release white doves at weddings to symbolize prosperity, fidelity and a happy home life. Doves are sometimes viewed as a triumph of life over death.
Subfamily: Columbinae, Otidiphabinae, Gourinae, Didunculinae, Treroninae
The doves are the 308 species of near passerine birds in the order Columbiformes, the terms dove and pigeon are used interchangeably, although smaller species are more likely to be called doves. The adjective columbine refers to something being dove-like.
The species commonly referred to just as the “pigeon” is the feral Rock Dove.
Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere.
The usually flimsy nests are made of sticks, and the two white eggs are incubated by both sexes. Doves feed on seeds, fruit and other soft plantstuffs. 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 sexes produce this highly nutritious substance to feed to the young.
This family occurs worldwide, but the greatest variety is in the Indomalaya and Australasia ecozones. It is related to the extinct dodos. The young doves and pigeons are called ‘squabs’. A person who keeps pigeons is called a ‘pigeon fancier’.
White Doves are a type of pigeon. They are social birds that live in colonies. Peregrine falcons and hawks prey upon them. These birds make a cooing sound. They have a life span of up to 15 years.
Anatomy: The White Dove is from 12 to 14 inches (30 to 35 cm) long.
Diet: Like all pigeons, white doves eat mostly seeds. They drink by sucking up water (very few other birds do this).
Nest and Eggs: Male doves build shallow, saucer-like nests made of sticks and twigs. Nests are usually located on ledges, like seaside cliffs or window sills on skyscrapers. Females lay 1-2 white eggs in each clutch (a set of eggs laid at one time). Both parents incubate the eggs.
Other Meaning for dove
- Doves are often associated with the concept of peace and pacifisim. They often appear in political cartoons, on banners and signs at events promoting peace (such as the Olympics, at various anti-war/anti-violence protests, etc.), and in pacifist literature. A person who is a pacifist is sometimes referred to as a dove (similarly, in American politics, a person who advocates the use of military resources as opposed to diplomacy can be referred to as a hawk).
- Doves can be trained and often are utilized in magic tricks and animal acts by magicians and showmen.
- Doves often are given an association with homosexuality, particularly white doves. The association is derived from the notion of doves equaling peace, and the popular flag with peace symbol in front of the rainbow (a symbol adopted by the gay community). Calling someone dove is a derogatory term for “gayness” or being homosexual.
- Dove is sometimes used as a street name for cocaine.
- A Dove Bar is a type of ice cream bar, featuring a vanilla ice cream filling with a thin chocolate coating.
Other Meaning for pigeon
- A “pigeon” is an English slang word to refer to an uneducated, naive, or unsophisticated person: one that is easily deceived or cheated by underhanded means. To be referred to as a “pigeon” or a “dupe” suggests unwariness in the person deluded – especially used in the slang language of gambling – Etymology: French, from Middle French duppe
Peace, like charity, begins at home.