Birds, like other animals, were divided by Moses into clean and unclean; the former might be eaten, the latter not. The general ground of distinction is, that those which feed on grain or seeds are clean; while those which devour flesh, fish, or carrion, are unclean. Turtledoves, young pigeons, and perhaps some other kinds of birds, were prescribed in the Mosaic law as offerings, Leviticus 5:7-10 14:4-7 Luke 2:24.
There is great difficulty in accurately determining the different species of birds prohibited in Leviticus 11:13-19 Deuteronomy 14:11-20, and the proper version of the Hebrew names. The information we have respecting them may be found under the names by which they are translated in our Bible.
Moses, to inculcate humanity on the Israelites, ordered them, if they found a bird’s nest, not to take the dam with the young, but to suffer the old one to fly away, and to take the young only, Deuteronomy 22:6,7.
Cages for singing birds are alluded to in Jeremiah 5:27; and snares in Proverbs 7:23 Ecclesiastes 9:12. Birds of prey are emblems of destroying hosts, Isaiah 46:11 Jeremiah 12:9 Ezekiel 32:4 Revelation 19:17-19; and the Lord comes to the defense of his people with the swiftness of the eagle, Isaiah 31:5.