White Rock Doves are strong, intelligent birds and possess a homing instinct. With extensive training, the doves can return home safely. They fly by the sun, find their bearings by atmospheric infrasound, and can also navigate with a magnetic sense to locate north. The pure white dove can travel as much as 600 miles in a day at the speed of approximately fifty-five miles per hour.
Doves have strong bonds, they choose a mate and then remain together through life, from season to season, year after year. For this reason, doves are associated with love and fidelity. Together they raise their young in harmony and serenity. As far back as known, there are legends of the white doves. They were the sacred animal of Aphrodite and of Venus, the goddesses of love. The Chinese felt the dove symbolized peace and long life. Egyptians saw the dove as quiet innocence. To the Greeks and Romans, they represented caring, love and devotion. In the bible, the dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. “God sent down his love on the wings of a dove.” It is also a messenger of promise since Noah, who after the flood dispatched a dove to find dry land. It returned with an olive branch in its mouth.
The much smaller true white dove, available at pet shops and raised in captivity to be used as a pet, or as used in magic shows, does not have the natural ability to return home or survive in the wild. The practice of releasing these white doves is both cruel and inhumane. To do so would most likely result in its death.
Provided by Creatures Corner reader Doris LeBlanc
Did You Know
Both male and female parent pigeons produce a special substance called “pigeon milk,” which they feed to their hatchlings during their first week of life. Pigeon milk is made in a special part of the bird’s digestive system called the “crop.” When hatchlings are about one week old, the parents start regurgitating seeds with crop milk and eventually seeds replace the pigeon milk.
Pigeon eyesight is excellent. Like humans, pigeons can see color, but they also can see ultraviolet light – part of the light spectrum that humans can’t see. Pigeons are sometimes used in human search and rescue missions because of their exceptional vision.