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Hawks and Doves

Like many people, I have a bird feeder in my yard. While the majority of the birds that visit are sparrows, there are also many chickadees, bluejays, cardinals and doves (identical to the dove shown in the photo), among others, that take advantage of the free winter food. There is also another occasional visitor to the bird feeder, not to feed from the feeder, but to feed on the birds that feed at the feeder - a hawk. From the few times that I've seen it here, it's a magnificent-looking predator, very fast, and very deadly - usually. A couple of weeks ago I found the "leftovers" from a bluejay in my driveway, mostly feathers. But it seems that the hawk sometimes misses; a few days ago I found a dove sitting on my front porch, badly injured, missing its tail feathers and with a deep gash on its front. It was apparently in a state of shock from the near miss - I was able to walk right up to it and pick it up.

The Bird of Peace

Dove I brought the dove in and applied a little first aid. There was nothing that I could do for the missing tail feathers, although I assume that they will grow back so that it can fly normally again. But I did clean the wound and put some antibiotic ointment on it. Now, a few days later, the wound is almost healed and the dove is eating quite heartily, something that I find rather amazing, considering that it is a wild bird. It's actually very tame (which is not good; to a wild bird, not watching out for hawks may be the worst mistake, but being too trusting of some humans comes close - see Christ's teaching about that, for humans, in the Fact Finder question below). It just sits on my hand and looks up at me as I pet it, which is not something that I encouraged. It's a wild bird, and very soon I do intend to release it back to where it belongs. Although I suspect that it won't go far, wild-born birds, like people, must be free.

From the brief experience with this dove, I can now better understand why doves have become known as the "bird of peace," and why the Scriptures describe doves in the way they do - even to the point of using doves as an analogy for the Holy Spirit. Doves are very peaceful birds, and yet very strong and very vigorous. Their flight is very swift, and their hovering-descent landings are graceful, so "full of grace" (sorry, I couldn't resist the pun) that a landing dove was used as an analogy for the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus Christ (see Matthew 3:16-17 below).

I can now also better see why warmongers are sometimes called "hawks" - they are simply guided by the mentality that they have. I don't begrudge the hawk for doing what comes naturally for it to do, even right in my yard. There's nothing that I can do about it anyway - hawks and eagles are protected species in Ontario. Ironically, the predator needs legal protection, while the prey really needs no help from man's laws. Doves, the hunted ones who threaten no other living creatures, are thriving in great numbers, while hawks, the hunters who kill all day long, are relatively few in number. There are consistently many more doves than there are hawks, just as God designed it.

Doves were known from the earliest of Bible History. Noah had a dove that flew back and forth to him from the ark, until it returned no more. Again, like the man said, live free or die.

"Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark [see also How Big Was Noah's Ark?], for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark. And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more." (Genesis 8:8-11 KJV)

King David, a man of war, recognized doves as living symbols of peace, "Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."

"A Psalm of David. Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication. Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise; Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me. My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest." (Psalm 55:1-6 KJV)

A dove was used as an analogy for The Holy Spirit of God:

"And Jesus, when He was baptized [see Baptism], went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:16-17 KJV)

Fact Finder: Did Jesus Christ instruct His people to be "wise as serpents, and harmless as doves"?
Matthew 10:16

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