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Doves: More Than Yard Birds
Doves in my Yard
I have long been one who enjoys bird watching. I am not a member of the Audubon Society or any other affiliate group who might spend hours with a pair of binoculars tramping around the woods or fields in search of some rare fowl or bird, I simply enjoy watching and observing those who frequent the feeders and have habitation in the forests near my own back yard. We have a large variety of wild birds here in Western North Carolina including Cardinals, Blue Jays, Finch, the Eastern Mountain Blue Bird and so many others whose genre I cannot name. Of course we have Crows and Wood-peckers, hawks and owls but one of my favorites is the Dove.
In Sunday School so many years ago we were told about Noah and the flood. The whole Earth was destroyed and only Noah, his family and animals and fowl that God had commanded to be placed inside the Ark survived. From Genesis 8 we read:
6 And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: 7 And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.
8 Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; 9 But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.
10 And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; 11 And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.
12 And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.
This story in the Bible was my first introduction to the Dove and rarely do I see a Dove without thinking of Mrs Estelle Osteen, our teacher and the Card Class at Mount Olivet Baptist Church where our family went to church.
The Dove has long been held to represent many virtues including love, peace, fidelity and the Holy Spirit. Some years ago after a particularly difficult time in my life when I questioned some of my personal failures and beliefs; I was filled with anxiety and my future and that of my family. As I was sitting at my breakfast table one morning looking out my window and to my surprise two Doves were sitting in a Maple tree. As I watched the birds, I noticed how they behaved and I couldn't help but feel maybe they were there purposely at this time in my life to remind me of the strong moral ethical teachings from my youth.
Since that time, I have enjoyed watching Doves. We have Doves in our yard now and I am still reminded just how precious are all of God's creation. When we are prone to fret over the turmoil of this world which has a curse, man in his fallen state, we may become frightened if there were not a hope. I am so reminded of the Words of Jesus when He said for us to behold the fowls of the air, they don't sow or reap, yet all their needs are met because our trust is in the One who knows our needs and will be faithful to provide for us. Our Hope is in One who can deliver on His promises.
The Dove and Pigeons in Bible times were acceptable as offerings when more expensive could not be afforded or for sacrifice. It is interesting to notice Mary and Joseph offered Doves as a sacrifice at Jesus circumcision. Later at Jesus baptism by John the Baptist in Jordan, a Dove is said to have descended and sat upon Jesus shoulder symbolic of the Holy Spirit.
It is said that once Doves mate, it is a lifetime proposition. The Doves will be as one remaining faithful to each other for the remainder of their lives. When I sit on my deck or on my front porch on these Spring evenings or in the early morning hours, these beautiful birds often speak to me lessons learned long ago.