On the Second Day of Christmas
My True Love gave to me
Two Turtle Doves
The last couple weeks I have had to tend to my bird feeders quite often. The cooler weather brings all the birds (as well as a few squirrels) out in abundance. I have added a few new feeders this year, although I think I have plenty really. Yet the birds I sure will not complain.
I have hung a couple thistle feeders on the back porch as this brings the brightly colored finches closer so that I can watch them better. I love how they dance back and forth with one another in play and a means to show off their vigor.
This year we were fortunate enough to have a flock of doves that settled near here. The first time I saw them I was quite fascinated by their pure whiteness. A group of about 12 of them would fly about each afternoon. At first I thought they may be egrets yet they were far to small in stature for this. Next I assumed they were an odd lot of pigeons. Yet this also proved to be wrong. When I observed them closer, I realized we were blessed with a small flock of white doves. I am not sure how they ventured here as it is the first time I have ever seen so many yet it was a pure delight.
The turtle doves also as well were here. They are such beautiful birds with such distinct markings and when adult most generally run in pairs. They seem to be so devoted to each other once coupled. I have heard that they claim only one mate in a lifetime. I am inclined to believe this as this summer we had a couple who would frequent our yard. Later in the season I noticed only one. As I continued to keep track of it through the days, it continued to remain alone.
My grandfather used to cup his hands together and blow. The sound he would make was that of the mourning dove. It was one of my favorite things as a child. On still afternoons I still love to sit on the porch and listen to them call.
Perhaps because of its mournful song as well as its desire to create such strong pair bonds, the dove is often used as a symbol of devoted love. Below an excerpt from a poem by William Shakespeare.
The Phoenix & The Turtle
by William Shakespeare
Here the anthem doth commence:
Love and constancy is dead;
Phoenix and the turtle fled
In a mutual flame from hence.
So they lov'd, as love in twain
Had the essence but in one;
Two distincts, division none:
Number there in love was slain.
Hearts remote, yet not asunder;
Distance, and no space was seen
'Twixt the turtle and his queen;
But in them it were a wonder.
So between them love did shine,
That the turtle saw his right
Flaming in the phoenix' sight:
Either was the other's mine.