The historicity of Noah’s great flood is supported by findings in many disciplines. There are two birds in the story: a dove and a raven. The birds provide a clue as to the location.
In Africa the dove is a symbol of prophetic discernment so sending out a dove was Noah’s way of seeking guidance. The most common dove in the part of Africa where the flood occured is the Pink-bellied Dove. This species is abundant near water and would have been associated with shrines which were located at rivers, springs and wells. The pink belly is suggestive of blood sacrifice which made peace between the penitent and God. This peace is symbolized by the olive branch which the dove brought to Noah.
The raven mentioned in Genesis is the Fan-tailed Raven, in the crow family. Its habitat extends across North Africa, Arabia, Sudan and Kenya. It also ranges across the Air Massif in Niger where it nests in crags. The red area shows the Fan-Tailed Raven’s habitat. This is exactly the location of Noah’s flood.
This is the natural habitat of both the Pink-bellied Dove and the Fan-tailed Raven, the birds that Noah released from the ark. It is also the heart of the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion.
In the ancient Afro-Asiatic world the dove represented heavenly confirmation. Noah sent out a dove to determine whether the waters had subsided and it returned with an olive branch. In many paintings of the Annunciation, the dove is portrayed as descending from the Father to Mary as confirmation.
In the ancient world, doves hovered near water shrines and sacred wells, so the idea of the Spirit hovering over the waters at the beginning of creation is consistent with Afro-Asiatic belief.
The dove seems a fitting symbol for the Spirit of God, just as the Sun is a fitting symbol for the Father. What then is the symbol for the Son? It is the veil that hides the most holy. Jesus is both the veil and the veiled or hidden Son. This is why the veil concealing the most Holy Place was torn from top to bottom when Jesus was crucified. At Calvary the Son was revealed fully. The veil was pulled away. At the Orthodox Paschal liturgy this is symbolized by the opening of all the doors of the iconostasis. This happens only on Pascha.