I have no personal knowledge of doves, except that a friend of mine has always had doves and they live in a dovecote. Unfortunately, he’s away at the moment, so I have had to research this post from scratch. Apologies if I have got anything wrong!
I’ve always assumed that doves, which have been domesticated for centuries were a separate species, but in fact as the best source I have found for anything and everything about doves says:
“As far as the doves that we keep in a dovecote go, these are basically domestic pigeons. Doves kept in a dovecote are always referred to as doves, even though the exact same breed, or even individual bird would almost certainly be called a pigeon if it was kept in a loft. There is a huge variety of domestic pigeons, but they all come from the same ancestor, the rock dove.”
from The Dovecote Spot, which also gives information about rearing doves and building dovecotes.
Another source, The Pigeon Cote, says of dovecotes, ” some quite elegant, were all over Europe. While far, far fewer in number today, England boasted over 26,000 dovecotes, during the 17th Century, on the grounds of monasteries and manor houses. They were found on the grounds of monasteries and manor houses because they were an incredibly profitable and worthwhile food source. The rest of us, “naturally,” were prohibited by law from interfering with the activities of our “betters’” pigeons or to erect pigeon houses for ourselves.”
A far cry from the romantic “dove of peace” that is the prevalent image of doves that we have today!
This last bit is from Wikipedia:
“Doves, usually white in color, are used in a variety of settings as symbols of love, peace or as messengers. Doves appear in the symbolism of Judaism, Christianity and Paganism, and of both military and pacifist groups. According to the biblical story (Genesis 8:11), a dove was released by Noah after the flood in order to find land; it came back carrying an olive branch in its beak, telling Noah that, somewhere, there was land. Christians used Noah’s dove as a peace symbol.“