This section is from the book "The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation", by George Abbey. Also available from Amazon: The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation.
The Turtle-dove (Turtur auritus or communis), Fig. 122, a member of the Columbidae or Pigeons, is about 11 in. long, and possesses four rows of black feathers, tipped with white along the sides of the neck; top of the head slaty brown, upper parts pale brown mottled with darker hue, abdomen and under-tail coverts white. The beak is brown and the legs and toes brownish-yellow. It arrives in England about the beginning of May, usually in small flocks, and shortly thereafter pairing. It is most commonly found in the southern counties, frequenting plantations, and particularly parks and pleasure grounds where there are fir-trees. In these situations turtle-doves are singularly pleasing from their cooing, and the graceful evolutions of the males render them great ornaments. The nest is a mere platform of twigs formed in the forked branch of a tree, the female laying two white eggs. The food consists chiefly of seeds, vegetation, such as young tops of swedes and turnips, and grain. Turtle-doves leave England at the beginning of September.