The pleasing quality of the sound as well as the variety in it could be well noted here where the birds were many, scattered about on ledges and projections high above the earth, and when bird after bird uttered its plaint, each repeating his note half a dozen to a dozen times, one in slow measured time, and deep-voiced like the rock-dove, but more musical; another rapidly, with shorter, impetuous notes in a higher key, as if carried away by excitement.
That by which it is referred to in the foregoing notes is not, perhaps, the most satisfactory, since, with the possible exception of the smaller stock-dove, which lays its eggs in rabbit burrows, and the rock-dove, which nests in the cliffs, all the members of the family need trees, if only to roost and nest in.
"Who am I that I should question your wisdom?" and, turning his horse's head, he rode forward across the gloomy veldt as certainly as a homing rock-dove wings its flight. So they travelled till the sun rose behind a range of distant hills. Then Zinti halted and pointed to them. "Look, lady," he said.
The last-named, however, which will be familiar to readers of Tennyson, probably alludes specifically to the rock-dove, as it undoubtedly gave its name to Culver Cliff, a prominent landmark in the Isle of Wight, where these birds have at all times been sparingly in evidence.
There are no rooks in the beeches; there isn't a jackdaw about; and I haven't seen a rock-dove; all proof that the ravens are here, for the others would not dare to nest near them. Only be to hatch young ones for food. But I don't see my gentleman nor his lady."
Cuvier, besides erroneously mentioning that it is a native of New Holland, states that it feeds on carrion; the stomachs of two which I examined contained seaweed, limpets, and small quartz pebbles. The people here call it the rock-dove, and from its snow-white plumage it forms a conspicuous object along the shores.