With their cooing calls perfuming the air as they gather in backyard trees or pedestrian plazas, doves etched themselves as symbols of peace, love and community across cultures. But when we see pleasing congregations of these slender birds gracing parks and bird feeders, what is the proper term for these collective clusters according to ornithological and linguistic conventions?
As with all animal group nouns, a colorful diversity of accepted terms captures the essence of dove gatherings, from historical Biblical references, to poetic flights of fancy, scientific classifications and more. Let’s dive deeper into the communal language around everybody’s favorite pigeon.
Cultural Dove Grouping Terminology
Beyond straight forward technical group terms, various cultures contributing symbolic mythology around doves also coined poetic phrases still in use:
A Coterie of Doves
- Coterie emerged as a term for small intimate gatherings in the 1600’s, be it exclusive groups of nobility or doves. Links to secret subcultures.
A Dule of Doves
- Dule means “grief, a mourning” from Anglo roots. May reference sad music of these birds.
A Pitying of Doves
- An even more emotive take playing up the dove’s sorrowful call from Ancient Greek mythology linking doves symbolically with lamentation and grief.
So from a mythological lens emphasizing inherent peace seeking behaviors, various common terms invoke emotional cues around doves bonding in their vulnerability and gentle charms.
Table 1: Cultural Dove Flock Terminology
|Term For Doves
|A Coterie of Doves
|Small intimate European nobility circle
|A Dule of Doves
|Old English word for grief/mourning
|A Pitying of Doves
|Greek myths link doves to sadness & pity
Beyond strict science, cultural traditions encapsulated in history-laden vocabulary remind us of enduring affinities humans share with doves in the intimacy their gatherings create.
Common Classifying Terms
Scientific conventions categorizing bird groups likewise apply standard gathering labels for genus Columba under family Columbidae:
A Flock of Doves
- Flock universally applies for most mid-size gregarious bird species congregating in open public areas
A Herd of Doves
- Herd fits for granivores like doves gathering to feed with turbulence around desired seeds
A Cluster of Doves
- Cluster describes their distribution cohesively bunching up grouped on branches
So from an ornithological perspective,Taxonomic order seeks technically binding terms classifying communal behaviors and morphology.
Beyond strict sytematics though, casual birdwatchers tend to default to simpler all-purpose terms.
General Layperson Grouping Terms
When everyday dove admirers spot pleasant assemblies out and about, these easy phrases roll off the tongue:
A Coo of Doves
- Naturally plays up one of the dove’s most iconic vocalizations with a soft rhyme
A Colony of Doves
- Colony captures way doves densely mass together at ample food sources
So for typical amateur observation focused more on pleasant experiences witnessing doves in public parks, lighthearted emphasis on cooing sounds or visual clustering suffice. Specific ornithological nuances distill down to more straightforward descriptors for layfolk just appreciating the birds innocently enough in passing.
Dove Depends On Definition
One final ambiguity in titling dove groups though lies in what bird species observers specifically have in mind identifying by “dove”. While formal Columbidae taxonomy centers on smaller pigeons like the urban Rock Pigeon, colloquial North American dialects also expand the dove label at times to encompass plumper gamebirds such as:
- Eurasion Collared-Doves
- Mourning Doves
- White-Winged Doves
So if using “dove” in a more enveloping cultural sense, alternate terms like a “clutch of doves” for game fowl, or a “wing of doves” become relevant beyond just dainty Rock Pigeon flocks. Context and connotation matters in common naming!
A diversity of terms legitimately title a gathering of our symbolic avian darling across languages – be they lighthearted or more technical. Beyond proper ornithological conventions accurately grouping genus Columba doves, poetic liberty also draws from mythological wells and casual friendly faire. At the end of the day, a peaceful dove congregation by any other name appears just as sweet.
So next time a fluttering squadron of filigreed doves pirouettes to roost in city trees, feel free to admire that charming coterie, or cooing colony with a fluid feast of merry descriptors informed by history. All civilly contribute – however science or culture frames familiarity – to celebrate the dove’s graceful communions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are classifying scientific words used for dove flocks?
From an ornithological classification standpoint, a dove group could be described as a “flock”, “herd” or “cluster” based on standard gathering terms by behavior and morphology.
Do any dove gathering names reference ancient mythology?
Yes – a “pitying of doves” comes from Greek mythological links between doves and sadness, while a “duel” of doves contains an old Anglo term meaning mourning and grief.
What’s a common informal phrase used to describe dove flocks?
Classifying by the vocalization, many casual observers default simply to calling dove groups a “coo” thanks to their iconic soft hooting carried on the breeze.
Besides strict technical terminology, what naming options remain?
From a cultural perspective, a “coterie” captures intimate social subgroups in nobility and doves, while poetic liberty allows anything from an admiring “blessing” to a lyrical “rhythm” of doves in flight.