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Pigeons and Doves
Feral Pigeon (Columba livia domestica) in flight
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Columbiformes
Family: Columbidae

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A dove is a kind of bird in the pigeon family, Columbidae. The names pigeon and dove are often used both for the same meaning. However, there is a small difference. Doves have a smaller body, and they have longer tails. Sometimes, though, there can be exceptions. The domestic pigeon is frequently called the "rock dove". This bird is called the "dove of peace." Pigeons and doves both have thick bodies and short necks with short, narrow bills. They live in lots of places, but most of them are in places such as Indonesia and Australia. The young doves and pigeons are called "squabs." There are more than 300 species of doves. The nests of doves are usually made of sticks. Their two white eggs are incubated by both the male and the female parent. Doves feed on seeds, fruit and plants. Unlike most other birds, the doves and pigeons produce a type of milk. Both sexes have this kind of highly nutritious milk to feed to the young.[1]

As a symbol

In the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean, doves were used as symbols for the Canaanite mother goddess Asherah, the Phoenician goddess Tanit, and the Roman goddesses Venus and Fortunata.[2]

The Christian symbol of a dove with an olive branch in it’s beak represents peace and comes from Genesis 8:6 - 12 which reads: "And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:...Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; 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. And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; 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. And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more." [3]

Doves were also used in ancient Israel as Korban, or religious sacrifice within the tabernacle and temples. "And if the burnt sacrifice for his offering to the Lord be of fowls, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves, or of young pigeons."[4]

Sign of the Dove

In Christianity, a dove represents the Holy Spirit. The "Sign of the Dove" was a prearranged sign by which John the Baptist would recognize the Messiah.[5] Joseph Smith taught: "The sign of the dove was instituted before the creation of the world, a witness for the Holy Ghost, and the devil cannot come in the sign of a dove. The Holy Ghost is a personage, and is in the form of a personage. It does not confine itself to the form of the dove, but in sign of the dove. The Holy Ghost cannot be transformed into a dove; but the sign of a dove was given to John who had baptized Jesus to signify the truth of the deed, as the dove is an emblem or token of truth and innocence."[6]

In Hebrew, Jonah (יוֹנָה) means dove.[7] The "sign of Jonas" in Mat 16:1-4 is related to the "sign of the dove".[8]

Scriptural References

Psalms 55:6 And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.

Psalms 68:13 yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.

Song of Solomon 2:14 O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock

Song of Solomon 5:2 Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.

Isaiah 38:14 I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me.

Jeremiah 48:28 O ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities, and dwell in the rock, and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole's mouth.

Hosea 7:11 Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart

Matt. 3:16 (Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32) Spirit of God descending like a dove.

1 Ne. 11:2 7 abide upon him in the form of a dove.

2 Ne. 31:8 (D&C 93:15) Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove.

Abr. Fac. 2, Fig. 7 sign of the Holy Ghost... in the form of a dove.

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