Turtle Dove

Turtle Dove

This bird has all the appeal which the stock dove appears to lack; in the to begin with it is so obviously a dove, with all of the connotations of peace and tranquillity associated with this name, and never a pigeon; it’s also strikingly coloured, having a conspicuous fan-tail; it’s the seasonal thrill of the returning migrant, in addition to a lazy, purring song that is the most soothing of summer sounds.

Not for free did Solomon single it by name among the heralds of summer-‘The duration of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard within our land’.

Haunts :

Open shrubby country, instead of true woodland-thorn-scrub, large gardens, parks, shrubberies and bushy commons.

Appearance :

Resting chief features, aside from small size in contrast to grey pigeons, are reddish brown, with blue-grey edging on wing, contrasting with dark flight-feathers of wing and tail; head and breast pigeon-like, but on neck, corresponding to wood pigeon’s ‘ring’, a black-striped patch of pale grey. Flying long graduated tail forms white-rimmed fan.

Voice :

An in-depth, continuous purring, with very slight pauses between every phrase of three or four ‘purrs’.

Food :

Almost entirely vegetable, particularly seeds of weeds, especially fumitory.

Nesting :

Nests in dense shrubs and trees-hawthorn, blackthorn, box, juniper. Nest a miniature version of wood pigeon’s, of proper twigs and fibres. 2 eggs, glossy white.