Who is Titan?
Titan the Turtle Dove is a very special bird. He is the first Turtle Dove to be successfully tracked from his breeding grounds in the East of England to his winter home in sub-Saharan Africa.
In the summer of 2014 Titan was fitted with a specially designed satellite tag, weighing just 4.9 grams. He then spent the summer near his breeding grounds, before starting his migration at the end of September. Researchers at the RSPB were able to track him as he flew through France and Spain, stopping off for a few days in North Africa before settling in Mali in late October.
Titan’s return to England started on the 19th May this year when he left Mali and began the 5,600km journey back. Having crossed the 2,000km of Sahara desert, he spent a couple of weeks refuelling in Morocco, then another couple of weeks making his way through Spain and France, before finally settling near to where he had been tagged. This year Titan has once again successfully undertaken this mammoth journey to Mali! What a lot of places this dainty bird has visited!
Why is Titan so important to us?
Turtle doves are the UK’s only migrant dove and they herald the arrival of summer with their distinctive ‘turr-turr’ call. But this sound is becoming scarce. The Turtle Dove population is halving every six years and if the decline keeps going at this rate we risk losing the Turtle dove as a breeding species in the UK! Titan provides us with important information about the habitats of turtle doves and the route they take on migration. We can target our efforts to save them along this route.
We are asking you to think about the sort of messages that Titan would put on a postcard back to England if he could write! Perhaps he’d write something like, “Nice weather here in Spain. Think I may stop with friends for a few days before tackling the Sahara! Titan”. We’d love to see your pictures or Titan on his travels! The postcards will be displayed at Pensthorpe Natural Park, and there are prizes for the best three postcards, including adoption of a turtle dove for a year, limited editions pin badges, turtle dove treats from Chocally and a Pensthorpe goody bag.
How to enter and T&Cs
Download the postcard template HERE and write and/or draw your message from Titan. Once we receive your entry we will fold it along the lines to make the postcard and display it at Pensthorpe Natural Park. No personal data will be on display.
The closing date has been extended to enable schools to take part, so all entries must be in by Thursday 11th February 2016. Entries must be on the postcard template supplied. Please send all entries to: A postcard from Titan, Freepost RRAC-SLHA-HUAR, Conservation Shop Ltd, Fakenham, Norfolk, NR21 0LN or scan and send to firstname.lastname@example.org. Winners will be contacted via email by Friday 8th January 2016.
To be in with a chance of winning, all entries must have the following information clearly written on the back:
Age (Only under 16’s eligible)
Parents email address (so we can contact the finalists)
We can’t wait to see what Titan’s been up to on his travels!