Rallying call to help protect the endangered turtle dove
Conservationists, farmers and wildlife enthusiasts in the South East are rallying to improve conditions for one of England’s most threatened birds, the turtle dove, which has seen its worst year yet. Improving habitats is a priority with farmland and RSPB reserves working to become turtle dove friendly. The farm advisory team in the South East has provided advice to 16 farmers so far, covering an area of 3,800 hectares, encouraging them to increase the amount of turtle dove foraging habitat on their farms, with a hugely positive response. RSPB agricultural projects officer Hayley New said: “If we increase their foraging habitat, over time the turtle doves will have more chance of survival and they are more likely to breed and increase their numbers.” The turtle dove is one of the fastest declining species in the country. Its numbers have crashed by 85% since 1995 according to the recent State
Farmers are being advised on how they can encourage dwindling numbers of turtle doves of the UK’s Birds report, and sightings this summer were the lowest ever. However, Operation Turtle Dove, a project between the RSPB, Conservation Grade, Pensthorpe Conservation Trust and Natural England, was launched in May last year and since then advisers have been busy visiting farms in the south and east of England to help them put in place measures to help turtle doves bounce back.
To find out more about the campaign visit www. operationturtledove.org