12. Turtle Doves

 “On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me. Two turtle doves…”

Turtle doves are famously associated with the Christmas song ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’.

The ‘turtle’ part of their name originates from the Latin (Streptopelia turtur)turtur’which is connected to the sound the birds make: ‘turrturr’. They may not be related to turtles but they are, however, in the bird family called Columbidae – which includes the pigeons.

They are known for their strong bonds and are commonly found in pairs. This association and their tendency to be monogamous for life, has earned them a role in literacy as a symbol of love, hence the song lyrics.

In Home Alone 2, you may remember Mr Duncan from the toy store giving Kevin two plastic turtledove ornaments as a symbol of friendship and love. He is told to keep one and give the other to a very special person.

There’s an idea for a last-minute Christmas gift!