Turtle-doves love by Ken Gilliland

While most people associate the Turtle-dove with the “12 days of Christmas” song. The actual symbolism of the Turtle-dove is more closely associated with Valentine’s Day.

Biblical references (especially the well-known verse from the Song of Songs), along with its mournful voice, and the fact that it forms strong pair bonds, Turtle Doves have become emblems of devoted love. In the New Testament, a two turtle doves are mentioned to have been sacrificed for the Birth of Jesus In Renaissance Europe the Turtle Dove was envisaged as the devoted partner of the phoenix. Robert Chester’s poem Love’s Martyr is a sustained exploration of this symbolism. It was published along with other poems on the subject, including William Shakespeare’s poem “The Phoenix and the Turtle” (where “turtle” refers to the turtle dove).

The European Turtle-dove is a migratory species with a southern Palearctic range, including Turkey and north Africa, though it is rare in northern Scandinavia and Russia; it winters in southern Africa.

The arrival in spring is heralded by its purring song, a rather deep, vibrating “turrr, turrr”, from which the bird’s name is derived. Despite the identical spelling, the “turtle” of the name, derived from Latin turtur, has no connection with the reptile, “turtle” in that case coming originally from Late Latin tortuca.

The Turtle Dove, one of the latest migrants, rarely appears in Northern Europe before the end of April, returning south again in September, but is often seen in April

Rendered in Poser Pro with no postwork using the Artist’s 3d bird models from the Songbird ReMix collection.

As an artist, I do four things; Oils on Canvas (Social Commentary), Drawings of National Parks, Photography of Birds and California Native Plants and 2D/3D digital art which primarily focuses on birds.

My work focuses on environmental and social commentary issues and has been featured on the internet, in print and in film.

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  • Walter Colvin
    Walter Colvinabout 4 years ago

    Wow! This is great Ken. Very nice work.

  • thanks

    – Ken Gilliland

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