Do you manage land?

Turtle doves spend two thirds of their time outside the UK where they face a range of threats along their migratory route, which takes them from their wintering grounds in West Africa to their breeding grounds in the UK. However, research shows that the loss of habitat in England is the biggest factor driving their declines here.

For this reason, it is essential to establish good turtle dove feeding and nesting habitat over turtle doves core UK breeding range in East Anglia and South-East England. And this is where you can help turtle doves – by providing them with the feeding and nesting habitat they need. Read on to find out about Countryside Stewardship funding and how you can receive free habitat management advice from our Turtle Dove Conservation Advisors.

Establishing feeding habitat

Turtle Doves are obligate granivores i.e. their diet consists solely of seeds.   This provides virtually nothing in terms of fluid, so a source of clean freshwater nearby is essential. This can be in the form of a pond or ditch, providing they have gently sloping edges, preferably with an open aspect to the south facing edge.  Such a source of water will benefit a variety of wildlife, not just Turtle Doves.  Countryside Stewardship can provide funded options for pond creation and management.

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Establishing nesting habitat

Turtle doves require suitable habitat for nesting.  Turtle doves nest in tall, dense scrub or hedgerow (over 4 m wide and 4m tall).  Thorn hedges are generally preferred, especially if there are native climbing plants present,  although dense stands of conifers, such as Norwegian Spruce, may also be used.  Countryside Stewardship provides funding options for the establishment and management of hedgerows.

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Free support & advice about turtle dove habitat

If you want to find out how you can provide habitat for turtle doves on your farm contact your local Turtle Dove Conservation Adviser

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