Turtle doves spend just a third of the year on their breeding grounds in Europe and spend the winter on their non-breeding grounds in sub-Saharan West Africa.
There are four main factors associated with the decline of turtle doves. These are the loss of suitable habitat in both the breeding and non-breeding range, unsustainable levels of hunting on migration and disease. Since turtle doves face threats on their breeding grounds, on migration through Europe and on their African wintering grounds it is essential that we work alongside conservation partners in Europe and Africa to help this bird all along the turtle dove flyway. RSPB are in a good position to do this as part of the BirdLife International network.
The long term aim of Operation Turtle Dove is to deliver conservation action for turtle doves that address each of these factors and we are currently at different stages of developing and testing solutions for each of them.