Bird Watching (UK) - - News - rspb.org.uk/tur­tle­dove­track­ing

RSPB sci­en­tists have mapped the mi­gra­tory route of a Bri­tish Tur­tle Dove for only the sec­ond time, af­ter a bird fit­ted with a track­ing de­vice in East Anglia last sum­mer ar­rived back in the UK in May. The bird, named Law­ford af­ter the Es­sex vil­lage where he was fit­ted with his tracker, ar­rived back in the UK on 5 May. Af­ter a lay­over in Croy­don and short de­tour via Suf­folk, Law­ford made his way to within two miles of where he was first found in 2016, adding to ev­i­dence that is help­ing sci­en­tists un­der­stand the im­por­tance of Tur­tle Doves’ faith­ful­ness to their es­tab­lished breed­ing ter­ri­to­ries. The num­ber of Tur­tle Doves breed­ing in Bri­tain has plum­meted since the 1970s, mak­ing them one of the UK’S fastest de­clin­ing birds. Op­er­a­tion Tur­tle Dove, a part­ner­ship pro­ject that aims to re­verse their de­cline, has seen con­ser­va­tion­ists work closely with farm­ers and landown­ers to pro­vide breed­ing and feeding habi­tat in ar­eas of the east and south-east of Eng­land where they still breed. RSPB con­ser­va­tion sci­en­tist John Mal­lord, said: “The main driver of Tur­tle Dove de­cline in the UK is the loss of food from the coun­try­side due to changes in the farmed land­scape. Farm­ers and landown­ers are work­ing along­side Op­er­a­tion Tur­tle Dove to ad­dress this, but as mi­gra­tory birds Tur­tle Doves also face many threats and pres­sures abroad. “Since leav­ing in Sep­tem­ber, Law­ford will have faced threats such as le­gal au­tumn hunt­ing in Europe, had to sur­vive the harsh en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions en­coun­tered cross­ing the Sa­hara, and find enough food and wa­ter over the win­ter to pre­pare for his re­turn jour­ney. “Hav­ing over­come all of these chal­lenges to make it back, we now have to hope that he can find a mate and enough food to suc­cess­fully breed and help sus­tain the UK Tur­tle Dove pop­u­la­tion. If he does, it will be in no small part thanks to the ef­forts of farm­ers and landown­ers.” You can fol­low the jour­neys of Law­ford and the other satel­lite tagged Tur­tle Doves on the RSPB web­site at this ad­dress:

A tracked Tur­tle Dove

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