Home   What's On   News   Article

How Kent bird lovers can help the RSPB's Operation Turtle Dove


More news, no ads

LEARN MORE

Turtle doves may be associated with the Twelve Days of Christmas, but with a dramatically declining population, the RSPB is calling on people in Kent to help its Operation Turtle Dove.

The bird's population has plummeted by 95% since 1995, according to the charity's research.

Turtle dove Streptopelia turtur Picture: RSPB Images/Ben Andrew
Turtle dove Streptopelia turtur Picture: RSPB Images/Ben Andrew

But Operation Turtle Dove, a partnership between the RSPB, Pensthorpe Conservation Trust, Natural England and Fair to Nature, has been working to identify and address the issues faced by turtle doves on UK soil, and working with farmers, landowners and communities to help create better breeding and feeding habitat for them.

But anyone can help with the project - and people living in Kent, which is one of the counties the UK's only migratory dove still heads to, are being urged to join in.

Here are four ways you can help support Operation Turtle Dove in 2021:

Create habitat in Turtle Dove Friendly zones

Kent is one of the few remaining UK breeding strongholds for turtle doves. Whether you have a back garden, community green space or commercial land operation, creating suitable habitat of any

size can be invaluable. The conservation organisation’s ambition is to create a landscape of good feeding, breeding and drinking habitat, so new generations can branch out across our countryside and fill it once again. If you have a patch of land you can manage for wildlife, visit the Operation Turtle Dove website here to find out more.

Often shy birds, turtle doves need our help Picture: RSPB Images/Ben Andrew
Often shy birds, turtle doves need our help Picture: RSPB Images/Ben Andrew

Add a date with a dove to your diary

Turtle doves start to return to England in late April, often around St George’s Day. This year, the RSPB, Rare Birds Breeding Panel, BTO and Natural England are asking eagle-eyed wildlife watchers to help survey the species to get a clearer picture of the national population.

The survey will take place between mid-May and early August across Southern and Eastern England, helping conservationists to identify any previously unrecorded breeding sites. You can help by submitting your own turtle dove sightings via Birdtrack here.

Kent is one of the few counties you might still see this sight Picture: RSPB Images/Andy Hay
Kent is one of the few counties you might still see this sight Picture: RSPB Images/Andy Hay

Give the gift of a donation

The conservation work needs financial support too. A small donation can go a long way in helping to create habitat or providing supplementary seed. Make a donation here.

Talk to people about how they can help

Many people have no idea that farmland birds like the turtle dove are struggling and as these birds can be quite shy often only the local residents realise they are nesting nearby. Concerned locals in Marden, sought the advice of Operation Turtle Dove to help challenge a proposed Garden Village scheme, which would have put the breeding and feeding habitat of the village’s turtle dove population at risk.

Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur tends to nest in farmland Picture: RSPB Images/Ben Andrew
Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur tends to nest in farmland Picture: RSPB Images/Ben Andrew

The Marden site is no longer being considered in the current preferred options consultation for the garden village development.

Find out more at operationturtledove.org

How to feed garden birds this winter.

For more gardens news across Kent click here.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More