Under the Mosaic Law, a woman who had given birth was to offer a young ram as a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a turtledove as a sin offering. If the family could not afford a ram, as was evidently the case with Mary and Joseph, then two turtledoves or two young pigeons were acceptable. (Le 12:6-8) The turtledove (Streptopelia turtur) shown here (1) inhabits not only Israel but also Europe, North Africa, and western Asia. In October of each year, these birds migrate to warmer, southern countries, returning to Israel in the spring. The other bird shown here (2) is a rock pigeon (Columba livia). This species is found worldwide. They usually do not migrate.
Eyal Bartov; © blickwinkel/Alamy Stock Photo