Turtle Dove foraging in farmland (c) Nicole Khan (rspb-images.com)

Providing good quality breeding season habitat

Rolling out conservation solutions
Years of research by RSPB Conservation Scientists and other researchers have shown that the main cause of Turtle Dove population declines in the UK is a lack of suitable food, leading to reduced productivity (the number of chicks produced).

To address this issue, Operation Turtle Dove is working with hundreds of farmers and other land managers to roll out solutions that will help create suitable breeding season habitats, with a focus on ensuring a good availability of food plants for the birds. Turtle Doves feed almost exclusively on seeds, so by providing a plentiful supply of seed-rich habitats, as well as suitable nesting and drinking habitats we are creating ideal conditions for Turtle Doves across their range in south-east and eastern England.

Operation Turtle Dove has a dedicated team of advisors who work with land managers to help them to provide suitable habitat:

  • Seed-rich feeding habitat with areas of bare ground to allow the birds to collect seeds from the ground
  • Nesting habitat in the form of scrub and tall, dense hedgerows
  • Safe drinking and bathing areas such as farm ponds and other shallow waterbodies

If you manage land in south-east and eastern England and would like to get involved with creating Turtle Dove habitat on your land, please get in touch with your local Turtle Dove advisor. Contact details for our advisors are available here.

Photo: Turtle Dove foraging for seeds on a patch of sparsely vegetated ground. Credit: Nicole Khan (rspb-images.com).