No ordinary dove

Doves and their etymological cousins, the pigeons, are well known across the majority of the earth’s landmass. People often see them, and seldom give them any thought. The geographical features of the Sahara Desert, Antarctica, and the high Arctic are too stark to allow for the survival of these birds, but elsewhere they are considered abundant.

Even when offered as an example of the potential for extinction, these birds are discussed casually. Let’s look at Passenger pigeons. They are arguably the best known example of Anthropogenic extinction… they were an abundant species. They were eradicated from the surface of the Earth by humans. Quickly. We teach that this tragedy happened because of us, we recognise it as our responsibility, even when using the distancing techniques of language we don’t get much further away than saying they died “due to human activities”.

Here are some examples of abundant doves and pigeons. Decide if they are ordinary, dismissible, easy to live without.

Cape Turtle Dove, Nossob, Kgalagadi
Mourning dove, Kruger NP
Red-eyed dove, JHB
A Laughing Dove flying over Marievale, Gauteng
Laughing Dove, Yzerfontein
An Emerald spotted wood-dove in the Kruger National Park
Common Bronze-winged Pigeon, Melbourne, Australia

Currently at least eleven species of doves and pigeons are endangered world wide. How many can we afford to lose before we know they are no ordinary birds?

This is no ordinary love
No ordinary Love
This is no ordinary love
No ordinary Love

Keep trying for you
Keep crying for you
Keep lying for you
Keep flying and I’m falling

And I’m falling

Song performed by Sade


  1. What remarkable photos – and doves are so beautiful. It is hard to understand why they are so taken for granted and as you point out not only are they not ordinary but their survival is not at all secure. Thank you for this beautiful post.

    Liked by 1 person

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