Where and when to see turtle doves

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:

Eastern England

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 Natural Park in Norfolk all year round, as they have a captive breeding flock.

Midlands

Aqualate Mere National Nature Reserve, Staffordshire

RSPB Otmoor, Oxfordshire

Northern England

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.

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.