THE DOVE ("COA-COA BIRD")

APPEARANCE - SPECIAL ABILITIES - TERRITORY
HABITAT/BEHAVIOUR - DIET - MATING - MYTH/LORE

The most common term for referencing this white bird is the "Dove". Though the elves have named it Aelién Eyá'pholiár translating roughly to "White Peace Maker", which also fits to what it represents in religious terms, as it is seen as a messenger of the Santharian Peace Goddess Eyasha. People in Southern Sarvonia have created the slang term "Coa-Coa" after its soft trill. Though you will not find a researcher calling it this name, many peasants use this as their sole title for the birds.

The Coa-Coa Bird

View picture in full size Image description. The Coa-Coa, messenger of the Santharian Peace Goddess Eyasha. Picture by Bard Judith.

Appearance. The Dove stands on two long, elegant legs, the hue of a light pink sunrise. Small white talons protrude from rosy toes, but they are rounded and dull, and are used merely for gripping, not for fighting. The short rounded beak is the same shade, if not a touch lighter. Doves almost always have pure white feathers. On a very rare occasion, these birds may be seen with black spots dappling their backs. These are believed to mark its relations with the Dark God Coór, and are frowned upon by followers of the Twelve. This is seen as a bad omen, and such Doves are therefore rarely kept as pets. Strangely, a spotted Dove has never hatched in the month of the Rising Sun, or so the saying goes.

Eyashene mindsmoothers believe that Eyasha gave the birds their white plumage to signify their peaceful nature. Those with black are therefore considered to no longer be holy to Eyasha, as chaos is the absolute opposite of her teachings. Mindsmoothers know to value these birds: Dove feathers are long, soft, and smooth as if woven of fine silks, their deep black eyes seem to have hypnotic properties. Patients report feeling "lost" in the everlasting expanses of black, almost relaxed.

Doves are a petite aven species. Ranging in size from 2 to 3 palmspans from the beak to the tip of the tail feather. They are slender, weighing in at only 3 to 4 od. This lack of body mass gives them a fragile appearance and rightly so. Combined with the fact that its wingspan is nearly twice the length of its body, this makes it farely easy for it to fly mostly by riding currents of air. The unfortunate disadvantage to this is that it can often be pushed unwillingly by the wind, and not have the strength to stop itself. Return to the top

Special Abilities. The Doves main abilities are meant to support their survival. They have rather acute eyesight, which helps them to locate seeds easily. This combined with their fairly fast flight speed often saves a bird's lives in the event of an emergency. The birds seem to have some form of sentience, though more complex thoughts elude them. Yet the reason they are so valued by the Eyashenes is for their soothing aura. In fact most of their names imply these talents. "Eyá'pholiár" means "peace maker" in Styrásh, while the coloquial term "Coa'Coa" refers to their soft trill. Many patients have reported that hearing a chorus of Doves in the morning is the perfect start to their day. Also many times the birds very presence seems to be a soothing one. Although Eyashenes seem to be the main owners, many people keep them as pets. Its soft feathers are also used in the manufacture of the softest pillows. Many simply collect the feathers that fall out, as it seems cruel to harm such a peaceful bird. Though, there are those who desire money, even at the cost of infamy. Return to the top

Territory. The Dove makes its home all over Caelereth, but is most common in Southern Sarvonia, and Nybelmar. It's hearty nature allows it to withstand most climates, but still tries to avoid the extremes: Aeruillin, Cyhalloi, and the far north. They enjoy the company of humans and other birds, so will be seen acompanied by many of their kind. Doves are most often found in small farming communities where they can easily obtain their main source of nutrition: seeds. A Dove rises early in the morning and is often the first bird to be heard singing when the sun peeps up from behind the horizon. Most often Doves are nesting in trees, twigs are woven together to form a conical structure, then wedged between two forked branches and lined with soft down. Though most common in trees, Doves have been sighted nesting on the ground as well. Their flat homes are surrounded by thick walls of tall grass and brush.
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Habitat/Behaviour. Coa-Coa birds are most often seen searching for food. As they require eating a lot, it dominates their minds most of the time. They could be hopping around on the ground or high up in a tree plucking the seeds. When not faced with the task of maintaining their nutrition, the bird would probably be singing. Its mournful song would most often be the first bird you hear in the sunrise chorus. They are usually very friendly, only territorial during the first step of the mating process - which mostly only lasts about a day. Doves make good companions for humans (especially Eyashenes) as their soft trill can be very relaxing.
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Diet. Doves, like most followers of Eyasha, are strictly vegatarian eating no meat whatsoever. Therefore it eats mostly seeds, pollen being a delectable treat. Though not quite as high as their wynd racer cousins, their metabolism is fast, so they require a good deal of nutrition. In inhabited areas, many people throw seeds for Doves out on the streets during the winter. If they hadn't, many Doves would be wiped out during the winter because of a lack of their main source of nutrition.
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Mating. Doves choose their mates during Changing Winds. A male makes known it is looking for a mate, by sitting on the inside of branch. Males then sing a special "mating" song, which is slightly different from its normal tune. At this time the male is very territorial of the branch, and will drive away all other males who attempt to even sit in the same tree. A female then responds by resting on the branch next to the male. They are then considered mates, and will be for the rest of their lives. Only if their mate dies will they stray from their monogamous habits. Up to two eggs (though usually only one) are layed late in Singing Bird, and occasionally in Rising Sun. Parents share sitting duties: the female taking the day shift, while the male searches for food and vice versa at night.

The egg finally hatches close to the end of Rising Sun. They will occasionally hatch in Burning Heavens, but this is generally not good for the egg. It seems that if the egg has not hatched before the last night of Rising Sun, the parents will abandon it! This seems like a natural insinct of the Dove, but it may be to show Eyasha's dislike for having her holy birds born in the month of a Fire God. Otherwise Doves are nurturing parents. They will not eat until after the chick is fully fed. Even after the chick has grown up, most will nest in a neighboring tree. They live about seven years at the most but most often around five.
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Myth/Lore. Certain lore has been weaved to explain the occasional appearance of black spots on this bird's plumage. A giddy children's poem tells the tale something like this, though some words vary from region to region. Note that the humans from where this poem is supposed to originate do not worship the mentioned High Goddess Avá, but they had heard of Her from local elves, and the poem is also a somewhat mocking reference if you look closer. So listen to the following tale of the origin of the Dove as constructed by simple peasants crafting a quick story to tell their children:

The Payment of the Fool

A beautiful tree, came from Her dream
A beautiful tree, it did seem
In this tree, Avá crafted peace well
A bird, which then began to dwell
In this beautiful tree
This once beautiful tree

Of these birds, there were twins
Nesting on opposite limbs
Both had good intentions at heart
But one had helped the fire start
It was his foolishness, don't you see
That had caused the blighting of this tree

The shadow hated Avá's calm
And He vowed it would not last for long
He whispered to the dove on the left
"Don't you know the right side's best!
Avá placed you there with a point
But I believe you two should work as a joint
You should be in the center of the tree
You should be treated equally!"

He let the twisted words sink in
Then he said, with a grin
"But Avá she will not give in!
She placed you there for Her reason
I have devised a plan to make things right
We'll give her precious tree a blight!"
Finally with the dove's consent
Coór burned the tree with the dove in it!

What a nasty trick it was!
The dove had gotten punished because
It had sided with that who had no shame
for siding with the shadow, he was to blame
The fire had blackened its feathers, like tar
Its retribution had been paid in scars
The descendants of this avian breed
Forever marked by its dark deed!
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 Date of last edit 27th Turning Star 1668 a.S.

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