Birds of Christmas Future

This third blog in our festive series about the turtle dove comes from Conservation Manager at Conservation Grade, Simon Tonkin…

 “If you believe we will not succeed, we have already failed”

Birds of Christmas Future - the Turtle Dove - cpt Simon Tonkin

Is it because turtle doves cannot raise enough broods to sustain the population in our countryside or the onslaught of hunting? Is it because our countryside is becoming increasingly not fit for wildlife?

Birds of Christmas Future - Turtle Dove Habitat - cpt Simon Tonkin
Ideal turtle dove habitat - copyright Simon Tonkin

Yet the turtle dove is not a bird that just hangs-out in the UK. It transverses the globe from north to south in search of summer seed rich habitats in the UK or wintering areas in the Sahel, passing many countries on its route to feed and shelter, or maybe even stop to breed, in one of the many European countries the species passes through and breed in.

You are about to show me shadows of the things that have not happened, but will happen in the time before us”.

Will these symbols of love not arrive back in the summer of the future heralding the warmer and lengthening days? Will the last turtle dove be doomed to die in captivity just like her cousin the passenger pigeon? …and, of course, what of it? Does it really matter?

I fear you more than any spectre I have seen. But as I know your purpose is to do me good, and as I hope to live to be another man from what I was, I am prepared to bear you company, and do it with a thankful heart”.

Looking into the future as it is we will continue on our way, continually depleting the world of its riches losing more species, but we will nonetheless continue on, not much will change, until suddenly one day you will being telling your children’s, children of the riches you lost them. YOU stood by and did nothing, whilst an iconic species deeply rooted in our culture was lost forever. Never to be heard filling the air with its purring or seen with its rufous wing and pink flush underneath. This beauty will be stripped from our countryside and it is you and I that will have been responsible!

Good Spirit, he pursued, as down upon the ground he fell before it: Your nature intercedes for me, and pities me. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life”.

Of course you would be forgiven for thinking that the future looks bleak indeed it currently does for our turtle doves but yet there is the opportunity to change the path. At desperate times often there emerges a hero, maybe even two or maybe even a whole army of them, kind hearts that make the change for the better.

In the turtle dove’s case a whole army of kind folk that keep Christmas in their hearts the whole year for the turtle dove; Birdlife partners, individuals and organisations just like Conservation Grade, and of course we are very proud to be part of this important band of heroes. It will be take an army of turtle dove saviours with super human powers whether it be running or walking huge distances, using the power of persuasion or super human vision of ‘if you build it they will come’ or perhaps super human mental strength to battling the evils of bad policy, problematic hunting or fighting the big issue, the way in which the countryside is managed and how little room there might be for our turtle doves, not just in the UK, but across the flyway.


We need you to join the fight, your super-powers are invaluable! You have a superpower that we need and that is the power of ‘The Consumer’.

So how about it, hero? Want to rewrite the future with us? Why are you still reading this? Go be Fair to Nature, and be that hero (cape optional), and keep Christmas in your heart the whole year.

Holding up his hands in a last prayer to have his fate aye reversed, he saw an alteration in the Phantom’s hood and dress. It shrunk, collapsed, and dwindled down into a bedpost”.
Birds of Christmas Future - Fumitory - cpt Simon Tonkin
Keep Christmas in your heart the whole year and ensure farmers across the flyway create turtle dove friendly habitats through you buying Fair to Nature.