I would like to believe there is a difference between pigeons and doves, even if there is not. And Shakespeare was with me on this, by the way. When Romeo said that Juliet “doth teach the torches to burn bright,” he was picturing her as a “snowy dove”—not as one of those big, aggressive pigeons that patrol New York City streets like self-righteous mall cops.
In reality, however, the birds are interchangeable, according to the dictionary, which lumps them together as “any member of the Columbidae family.” Both were considered delicious by the ancient Egyptians, who built freestanding shelters—or dovecotes—to house them. For modern gardeners without the space for an outbuilding, here’s a selection of compact dovecotes, complete with pigeonholes:
Above: The UK-based Dovecote Co. offers 11 styles of handmade wooden dovecotes; for more information visit Dovecote Co. The company’s dovecotes can be customized with Decoration Packs that include decorative roof supports, canopies, and trim.
Above: Headquartered in West Yorkshire, Saville’s Dove Cotes offers a selection of handmade dovecotes, titcotes and bird houses, many models available with such embellishments as lead roofs, mounting posts, and choice of Farrow & Ball paint color (my house should be so nice). For more information, visit Saville’s.
Above: For example, a hexagonal Buckingham Dovecote has two levels and enough room to house six pairs of doves; £450 from Saville’s.
Above: Marks Dovecotes, headquartered in Wales, offers about two dozen different styles, including both freestanding and wall-mounted models. The Caerphilly (R) in white gloss with a black roof is £350. For more information about the full line, see Marks Dovecotes.