Where to see turtle doves
In the UK, turtle doves are now mainly a bird of southern and eastern England although their range does extend further north and west. Best looked for in woodland edges, hedgerows and open land with scattered bushes. These birds are more often heard than seen and their distinctive, gentle, purring song has long been a characteristic sound of summer.
Visit one of these nature reserves to try and spot turtle doves:
Abberton Reservoir (Essex Wildlife Trust), Essex
Black Bourn Valley (Suffolk Wildlife Trust), Suffolk
RSPB Boyton & Hollesley Marshes, Suffolk
Bure Marshes (Woodbastwick, the Broads), Norfolk
Fingringhoe Wick (Essex Wildlife Trust), Essex
RSPB Frampton Marsh, Lincolnshire
RSPB Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire
RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk
RSPB North Warren, Suffolk
RSPB Old Hall, Essex
RSPB Titchwell Marsh, Norfolk
Wrabness (Essex Wildlife Trust), Essex
You can see turtle doves at Pensthorpe in Norfolk all year round, as they have a captive breeding flock.
Aqualate Mere National Nature Reserve, Staffordshire
RSPB Otmoor, Oxfordshire
Thorne Moors & Hatfield Moors (Humberland Peatlands, nr Goole), South Yorkshire
South East England
Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve, near Chichester, West Sussex
Oare Marshes (Kent Wildlife Trust), Kent
Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve, near Canterbury, Kent
Sandwich: We are working with landowners at a privately owned site near Sandwich, who occasionally offer open events so that the public can view the turtle doves here. To help us protect this important feeding site, which is highly sensitive to disturbance, please email us to register your interest in visiting and we will be in touch.
Woods Mill (Sussex Wildlife Trust), West Sussex
South West England
Martin Down National Nature Reserve, Wiltshire
When to see turtle doves
Turtle doves visit England for the breeding season, arriving in late April and May and leaving again between July and September.