In parallel with research, and because turtle doves are suffering such steep declines in the UK, a vital aspect of the project is the establishment of feeding and nesting habitat over the core breeding range.
Providing turtle doves with habitat on farms, school grounds, campsites, landfill sites & nature reserves
Under the new Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, there is a bespoke turtle dove package. This means that farmers can receive financial support to provide turtle dove habitat on their land. The land management advice in this package is based upon the results of the research described here.
In April 2014, RSPB employed two full time turtle dove advisers – Samantha Lee and Les Edwins – who deliver habitat management advice to farmers and landowners on providing turtle dove friendly habitat. Between them they cover the counties of Kent, Sussex, Essex and Suffolk which support over 50% of the UK breeding population of turtle doves. If you want to receive free advice about providing habitat for turtle doves on your land then contact your local Turtle Dove Conservation Adviser.
In addition to farmers, private landowners including schools, campsites, landfill sites and nature reserves also receive advice to establish targeted turtle dove habitat on their grounds.
Providing turtle doves with habitat on quarries in partnership with CEMEX
In 2014, the RSPB and CEMEX UK began working in partnership to secure more suitable foraging and nesting habitat for turtle doves in the breeding season.
CEMEX are one of the world’s largest building materials suppliers and cement producers. This is a three-year pilot project testing whether particular habitat management on CEMEX quarries results in increased turtle dove numbers locally.
Once active mineral extraction is complete, targeted habitat restoration at sites affords CEMEX and the RSPB opportunity to provide suitable nesting habitat for turtle doves, together with chance to sow a flower mix to provide the bird’s ideal food, complemented by wetland edge for water.