What Symbolic Meaning Does a Turtle Dove Have?

Because they construct nests together, stay together for life, and nurture their young, turtle doves represent love and faithfulness. In literary and poetic works like the Old Testament and the works of Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, and Buddy Holly, they are rendered eternal.

Doves are shown in the Bible to be devoted, trustworthy, and loving. A lamb sacrifice was replaced with two turtle doves in Leviticus 12:8. At the birth of Christ, Mary and Joseph sacrificed two turtle doves in Jerusalem. Turtledoves are still connected to the holiday custom of Christmas.

Doves served as a symbol of purity, longevity, peace, loyalty, love, and concern for one’s family in Egyptian, Roman, and Chinese cultures. Turtle doves breed across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, but they spend the winters in Africa.

With their long necks, slim bodies, and little, gray-blue heads, turtle doves are graceful. Although they occasionally eat grubs, caterpillars, tiny leaves, and buds, turtle doves prefer fruits and seeds. Turtle doves gather in groups throughout the day to forage and roost at night. Instead of drinking water, these birds suck it by dipping their beaks.

They appreciate residing close to people and are simple to domesticate. Turtle doves make good pets and like to eat mealworms, rice, hard-boiled eggs, crushed raw peanuts, and finely grated carrots.

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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