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Dove - Symbol of Love and Peace
The dove is a universal symbol of peace and love. Every nation and every culture has viewed this bird with a fondness close to worship. But unbeknownest to many the pigeon and the dove and pretty much the same bird. (Didn't know that you were swearing to the symbol of peace did you?)
The doves that we most commonly refer to as such come in a variety of birds. They are overall a hardy bird and easy to breed though many of the smaller varieties are high-strung and should be raised in an aviary instead of a standard size bird cage.
Doves are monogamous and have a very beautiful courtship. In fact the affection that they give each other during mating is so unique in the animal world that that is why the dove became the symbol of love and peace.
The diamond dove is one of the smallest known doves and is native to Australia. It is part of the group of doves commonly referred to as Turtledoves in Europe. It has a long tail and generally gets to just over 7 inches long and only a mere 1.5 ounces in weight. It can live up to 10 years if handled properly. This is one of those breeds that is not a good choice for a bird cage. They like bigger areas to hide from anything making them nervous and enjoy the company of other birds such as canaries.
The mourning dove is also known as the Carolina Dove and is found in North and Central America. It is the most hunted of all the doves though in many areas they are protected as a song bird due to their soft "cooing". They can get 12 inches long and weigh about 5 ounces. These are the ones you'll hear outside your window on a sunny day. Most of these are found in the wild and not one of the most popular ones to have as pets.
The Ringneck dove is the one you'll see the most often as a household pet. It can get to 12 inches and live on average 10-15 years though there are some documented cases of the birds living into their 20's. You can find a variety of colors in this species. More and more breeders are developing new colors to the beautiful array of doves. Looking for a dove as a pet? Then check these out first.
These are the most well-known of all doves. The white dove which is the universal symbol of love and peace is highly intelligent which is one reason many magicians use them in their acts. They actually are a Ringneck dove so they also make great pets.
There are so many other types of doves/pigeons to list that it would take an entire book. But you can also find the Turtledove in Europe, Ground Dove in the southern United States, and the Inca Dove in the southwestern United States.
Since doves are the ultimate symbol of love and peace, it is not surprising that they end up as the subjects of poems and incorporated into ceremonies such as weddings.
Louisa May Alcott wrote the following poem that is a wonderful example of how these birds have been a part of many people's lives.
by: Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)
OPPOSITE my chamber window,On the sunny roof, at play,High above the city's tumult,Flocks of doves sit day by day.Shining necks and snowy bosoms,Little rosy, tripping feet,Twinkling eyes and fluttering wings,Cooing voices, low and sweet,-- Graceful games and friendly meetings,Do I daily watch and see.For these happy little neighborsAlways seem at peace to be.On my window-ledge, to lure them,Crumbs of bread I often strew,And, behind the curtain hiding,Watch them flutter to and fro. Soon they cease to fear the giver,Quick are they to feel my love,And my alms are freely takenBy the shyest little dove.In soft flight, they circle downward,Peep in through the window-pane;Stretch their gleaming necks to greet me,Peck and coo, and come again. Faithful little friends and neighbors,For no wintry wind or rain,Household cares or airy pastimes,Can my loving birds restrain.Other friends forget, or linger,But each day I surely knowThat my doves will come and leave hereLittle footprints in the snow. So, they teach me the sweet lesson,That the humblest may giveHelp and hope, and in so doing,Learn the truth by which we live;For the heart that freely scattersSimple charities and loves,Lures home content, and joy, and peace,Like a soft-winged flock of doves.
Pigeons are Doves, Too!
Now the next time you are walking down the street and you feel a little gift fall on your shoulder or in your hair, instead of letting the four-letter words fly and give censorable gestures to the sweet birds above remember that it was given out of love and you are cursing peace and love :)