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RSPB press launch – Turtle Doves – Mark Avery

UK turtle dove survey warns of low numbers, however hope is on the horizon

Turtle Dove. Photograph: Tim Melling
  • The primary ever nationwide turtle dove survey has estimated that simply 2,100 pairs of turtle dove now breed within the UK
  • This migratory chicken is primarily in danger as a result of lack of habitat and unsustainable ranges of looking
  • Though sobering outcomes, options are actually in place to sort out the 2 greatest threats dealing with our turtle dove populations

The turtle dove is the fastest-declining UK species, with numbers falling by 98% for the reason that Nineteen Seventies. Final 12 months, virtually 1,000 volunteers, farmers, examine teams, county chicken golf equipment and different organisations mobilised to file turtle dove throughout their UK vary. Provisional outcomes revealed in the present day present that there are actually simply an estimated 2,100 pairs left, down from an estimated 125,000 pairs in 1970.

Turtle doves are distinctive as the one long-distance migratory dove species in Europe. They’re recognized for his or her distinctive “purring” name and the intricate scalloped sample on their wing feathers. They’re synonymous with Christmas, regardless of not being within the UK at the moment, as a result of their inclusion within the well-known track Twelve Days of Christmas.

Analysis exhibits that the decline of turtle doves is being pushed by two most important components: the lack of appropriate habitat on the breeding grounds and unsustainable ranges of looking once they migrate by south-west Europe on spend the winter in Africa. Though the outcomes are sobering, there’s hope for this summer season resident. Figuring out components driving the decline have helped pinpoint the options. This contains working with farmers, landowners and volunteers who play a key function in supporting turtle doves within the UK.

Operation Turtle Dove is a partnership – between the RSPB, Truthful to Nature, Pensthorpe Conservation Belief and Pure England – geared toward reversing the decline on this beloved farmland chicken. The mission is driving ahead the restoration and creation of turtle dove breeding habitat, which holds the important thing to securing a future for turtle doves within the UK. A staff of advisors is readily available to offer steering to land managers on creating turtle dove habitat and offering supplementary feeding.

Turtle doves are actually concentrated in south-eastern and jap England, as far north as Yorkshire. Offering the proper habitat is crucial to making sure this species success. It’s crucial that the brand new agri-environment schemes in England proceed to assist farmers who implement wildlife-friendly measures on their land. With out this funding, present turtle dove conservation efforts could also be severely compromised.

Turtle doves are additionally threatened from unsustainable looking practices. In SW Europe alone, about 1 million birds have been estimated to be shot annually till not too long ago. Nevertheless, in 2021, for the primary time, no looking of turtle doves was permitted in France, Spain or Portugal. The RSPB performed a pivotal function in growing the science, species motion planning, and worldwide coverage work, that led to the looking ban, and requires a sustainable long-term administration system that may enable the restoration of the species on a continental scale.

Andrew Stanbury, Conservation Scientist mentioned: “Within the 70s, there have been data of flocks of over 5 hundred birds, and the UK inhabitants was estimated at 125,000 pairs. Though these outcomes paint a stark image with numbers, the way in which ahead is obvious and we stand likelihood of turning across the fortunes of this chicken. We hope that the 2021 survey will signify the bottom inhabitants level.

Phil Grice, Principal Specialist for Ornithology at Pure England mentioned: “The truth that no looking is at present permitted on the western European flyway gives us with an enormous window of alternative to reverse the decline in arguably one in every of England’s most threatened chicken species. Offering good nesting habitat (within the type of tall hedges and mature scrub) and plentiful seed assets all through the late spring and summer season can be important, each of which might be delivered by a well-planned and delivered Countryside Stewardship settlement.

The turtle dove is one in every of our most charismatic birds and their declining numbers proceed to concern conservation our bodies. A collaborative effort between landowners, volunteers and different stakeholders can sluggish and stop additional declines of the turtle dove, which is necessary now greater than ever.

Turtle Dove, grownup pair feeding on exhausting standing space the place supplementary meals has been positioned, Langdyke Belief’s Etton-Maxey Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire.  Photograph: Ben Andrew/RSPB

The 2021 Nationwide Turtle Dove Survey was a partnership mission coordinated by the RSPB, Uncommon Breeding Birds Panel and Kent Ornithological Society, with assist from British Belief for Ornithology (BTO). The turtle dove survey is a part of ‘Motion for Birds in England’, a conservation partnership between Pure England and the RSPB.

Efficient ways in which most of the people may also help turtle doves within the UK embrace reporting sightings by way of BirdTrack, volunteering to participate in surveys and supporting the work of the RSPB and Operation Turtle Dove companions.







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