Results show ‘small win’ for Turtle Doves in National Park, but more needed to prevent extinction - North York Moors National Park Authority

Turtle Dove North York Moors Forest Spring 2020. Credit Richard Baines
Turtle Dove North York Moors Forest Spring 2020. Credit Richard Baines

Surveys carried out by staff and volunteers for the North York Moors National Park Authority have indicated that Turtle Dove numbers within the National Park have remained relatively consistent for the last four years.

This is a good, be it small, win for a species that is at risk of global extinction and is still considered to be the UK’s fastest declining bird.

Since 2016, the North Yorkshire Turtle Dove Project, a scheme funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, National Park Authority and other partners, has been carrying out surveys alongside a dedicated conservation team and over 70 volunteers. It has also involved working with farmers and landowners to create and improve habitats that can benefit the species.

Ecologist Richard Baines, who leads the project said: “We are now mid-way through our surveys for 2020 monitoring 20 of our one km squares which we visit every year. The first signs are very good and we have had presence recorded in over 60% of visits. Virtually all of the sites we surveyed for the first time in 2016 still have Turtle Doves. This is great news as the species is still declining fast across Europe and is consequently listed by Birdlife International as vulnerable, having suffered a massive decline across its breeding range.”

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