When Doves Cry

Heading out on the first day of Spring, I came upon a pair of birds at an intersection near home. They would not budge. They almost stared into my windshield as I approached. I ended up going around them.

Photo credit. Sequoia Hughes.

I had to look them up. They were Mourning Doves, male and female. Since doves mate for life, I took it as a good sign.

There is an ancient practice called Ornithomancy, used by Greeks and Romans to identify omens associated with bird sightings. One legend associated the first bird seen on Valentine’s Day as a forecast for the type of soul mate you could expect.

A few examples:

Bluebird: They like to make people laugh, e.g. a comedian or clown.

Duck: Your relationship will be homey and stable.

Sparrow: They work with the land, e.g. a farmer or geologist.

Dove: Your marriage will be happy.

Canary: They’re involved in healing, e.g. a doctor or masseuse.

Turkey: They love nature and are passionate about the environment.

Swan: They’re creative, e.g. a writer or dancer.

Eagle: They will be powerful, maybe even a bully, e.g. politicians, business leaders.

Blackbird: They will have great kindness, spirituality, charity.

Goldfinch: The yellow color reflects wealth.

Not sure how accurate these forecasts turned out to be for most ancient couples, but it was an interesting find.

And if I had better luck with Youtube videos, I’d include my favorite Prince song here, “When Doves Cry”.

Have a wonderful Spring.


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100 Responses to When Doves Cry

  1. I heard this song on the radio yesterday.
    Interesting post, especially about ducks, as we are surrounded by them! I love to watch the birds, they make me feel humble as they survive in the most adverse conditions, yet still have a beautiful song to sing. Two woodpigeons have made a nest on top of the CCTV camera here. It happened last year too as the camera is nice and warm, so just right for keeping the eggs snug! Also, the birds keep peering into the lens!

  2. Ron Walker says:

    We have the Doves here. I love listening to them at any time. I also love the song by Prince.

  3. Is this it Van? ❤
    Diana xo

  4. Just Plain Ol' Vic says:

    Sooooo…I will never see Goldfinch around me. :-/

  5. TanGental says:

    ah me, aren’t birds so wonderful – it’s that flying thing that makes them otherworldly…

  6. dweezer19 says:

    I love mourning doves. Embedding youtube videos into WP blog posts? It’s an aquired skill. 😉

  7. Bernadette says:

    A curious assembly of meanings for the birds but a fun read

  8. Interesting – but no Robins? My best friend Robin – no longer alive – used to ride his bike all over NYC until he sighted his first Robin – every first day of spring (but he and my family consider 3/21 the first day – also my brother’s b’day). Sadly, still cold and rainy where I live.

    I’ll tell you, if I thought for a moment that Valentines Day sighting was prophetic I’d stay in or keep my head affixed firmly to the ground to avoid seeing an eagle. I can’t imagine trying to share life with anyone with those qualities and would probably even move to a new state to avoid falling in love with one. [“They will be powerful, maybe even a bully, e.g. politicians, business leaders.”]

    Love the song – have since first hearing.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

  9. joey says:

    I was so surprised you didn’t know they were doves, but then, I have a story for that… sometime. I think we must have a lot more doves, or maybe it’s because there are a lot of birders in our family and I’ve never had the pleasure of not knowing which birds are which.
    That is a fun tradition, and I’d never heard of that. Course, I don’t remember what bird I first saw on Valentine’s Day, but it was probably a songbird, because that’s what my trees house. My husband definitely isn’t a ground laborer so maybe a swallow or a wren…

    Can never go wrong with Prince ❤

    • So many Valentine’s Days where I wasn’t looking for birds or a soul mate, but if they were there…I’d bet they were pigeons !! How fun that yours is a birder family. Prince…one of a kind.

  10. kingmidget says:

    Both at our current house and our last, there were periods of time when we had doves tucked away each year under one of the eaves by our front door. It’s been a long time since we had their visits. I miss them.

  11. J.D. Riso says:

    Happy Spring, Van. 🌸🌷💗

  12. Erika Kind says:

    Oh, I love that, Van! Yesterday I was sitting on my patio trying to listen to a video… no chance… lol! The birds were so loud. Most of all one. I think it was a blackbird and now I have its message. Thank you!

  13. amommasview says:

    Van, I totally love this post!

  14. Love ❤️ and esp the Prince close

  15. We had a collared dove whose mate was killed by a raptor. It didn’t leave the spot for days

  16. markbialczak says:

    Happy Spring, Van. Birds are smart, I say.

  17. I hadn’t heard about the Valentines forecast, but a spiritual healer told me about animal totems – mine is crow, apparently.

    Here’s what I found online about doves and their meaning:

    If Dove has flown into your life;
    She may be reminding you that in order to soar, you must know when to move your wings and when to allow the wind to take you to new heights. If you were to sit on a branch looking to the sky and hoping the wind will simply pick you up, you would never move. You must surrender and allow the wind support your wings. Get moving… and experience the exhilaration of flying higher and higher.

    Alternatively Dove could be letting you know that you need to simply stop and take a few deep breaths. Let go of the turmoil that is currently surrounding you and find peace within you. Know that what you see right now is reality shifting in ways you never thought possible and that what you are truly looking for is just around the corner. The most chaos happens just before your dreams come true.

    If Dove is your Spirit Animal Totem;
    You are truly one of the most gentle and giving persons on the planet. You have a sense of innocence that attracts that attracts many people to you. You sometimes have difficulty with others as the tend to take advantage of your pacifistic ways and the calm and serenity that is natural to your being. You are a natural nurturer and make an excellent parent.

  18. The V Pub says:

    I wonder what Cardinals bring? They are one of the most beautiful birds in the feeder. The turkeys? Not so much. My dog starts barking incessantly each morning when he hears them coming down from their roost.

    • I’ve always heard that cardinals show up as a reminder of folks you have lost. It happened to me quite a few times over the years. Turkeys..not so sure. Thanks, Rob.

  19. It’s interesting how we love omens of the future, especially around love. Great list, Van. The only one I take exception to is Ducks. The ducks I know are in a constant state of frantic commotion. They’re hysterical, but I wouldn’t want to marry one. 🙂

  20. vinnieh says:

    I’ve got the Prince song in my head now.

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  22. Nurse Kelly says:

    Beautiful post, Van. I’ve always loved Mourning Doves, their call is so distinctive. I find them to be calming out in the yard. And those are very interesting facts about birds.
    We’ve had the same Mallard duck couple come to the yard for years now in the spring to build a nest. Every year it’s heartwarming to witness their return and watch while they pick just the right spot for the nest. Have to keep an eye on Ruby though, so she doesn’t scare them away!
    Saw my first Robin just a couple of days ago, now they seem to be everywhere! I think that’s a good sign. Hope you have a lovely week. xo

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  24. The first time around I think I must have seen a vulture.. we have doves in our garden and they enjoy the seed that the blue tits throw out of the feeder.. picky devils.. I would say it was a good omen seeing them.. and glad you went around them… hugs xx

  25. Beautiful.. Its lovely to see the blackbirds in our garden at the moment gather up and make a nest in our tree.. 🙂 Wishing you a Happy Spring.. xxxx

  26. Annika Perry says:

    This was a lovely post, the photograph is beautiful and full of warmth and fascinating to read about Ornithomancy. I just hope I wouldn’t spy an Eagle! It might have been a bluebird as we are lucky enough to have many of these in our garden and my husband is rather funny – by accident!😀

    • You’re not the first to be wary of that eagle. We have an abundance of bluebirds as well, and humor has saved us both over the years. Thanks for the visit and comment, Annika. 🐦

  27. updownflight says:

    I bet you can tell that I love birds from my screen name.

    We had a sweet pair of mourning doves nest on top of our rose arbor a few years ago. We could see the squabs from our second floor window. They were wonderful!

    For any American Eagle lovers there is a pair in Washington D.C. right now 3/17 sitting on their eggs. You can see a live cam at http://www.dceaglecam.org/

    Loved your post!

  28. writerinsoul says:

    I think they didn’t move because they’re not very bright. I’m well acquainted with mourning doves and I *do* like them but they’re not the sharpest birds on the wing. They have two gears: stock still and FREAKING OUT.

  29. Birds just remind me of spring & it can not come soon enough.
    It has been a while!

  30. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Van, I did not know Doves mated fro life. We have Mourning Doves (so many!) all the time in our backyard. Hmmmm …. happy marriage. No wonder there are so many working over time with me. LOL I love to hear them coo and for reasons when I just watch them, they bring such a sense of Peace to my Heart. Thank you for this information. I’ll carry it in my Heart now. 🙂 ❤

  31. Deb says:

    I love knowing what different things mean. Thanks for sharing this list…I find it fascinating!! Love Prince’s song too! 🙂

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  33. George says:

    Interesting legend. I’ve never heard of that one before..:)

  34. Miriam says:

    Lovely post Van. A pair of doves on the first day of Spring. I’d definitely take that as a good sign.

  35. Now I shall keep my eye’s peeled to spot a pair. Interesting legend.

  36. Lady G says:

    One year, on my late mom’s birthday, a mourning dove perched on a nearby fence and ‘watched ‘ my daughter and I as we swam.
    Van, that dove then flew down and stood quite near us; it actually allowed us to walk up to it and take a picture! Amazing!
    Either it was my Mom or one of her representatives from heaven.
    Here’s something funny. Lady J, a huge animal lover is the one who identified what type of bird it was.

  37. Jainey says:

    Everything but duck and sparrow. I must be a complete weirdo. LOL! 😀

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