Do you manage land?

Turtle doves spend two thirds of their time outside the UK where they face a range of threats along their migratory route, which takes them from their wintering grounds in West Africa to their breeding grounds in the UK. However, research shows that the loss of habitat in England is the biggest factor driving their declines here.

For this reason, it is essential to establish good turtle dove feeding and nesting habitat over the turtle dove’s core UK breeding range in East Anglia and South-East England. And this is where you can help turtle doves – by providing them with places to feed, nest and drink. Read on to find out about Countryside Stewardship funding and how you can receive free habitat management advice from our Turtle Dove Conservation Advisors.

Download Helping your local Turtle Doves for a handy guide that outlines how you can provide turtle doves with the habitats they need in the UK.

Establishing feeding habitat

Turtle Doves feed almost entirely on seeds on the ground. They need low plants and patches of open ground where they can find the seeds. It is essential that there is a suitable source of seeds available when the birds first arrive back from migration in order that they can get into breeding condition quickly.

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Establishing nesting habitat

Turtle doves require suitable habitat for nesting.  Turtle Doves nest in tall, dense scrub or hedgerow (over 3 m tall and 4m wide).  Thorn hedges are generally preferred, especially if there are native climbing plants present,  although dense stands of conifers, such as Norwegian Spruce, may also be used.  Countryside Stewardship provides funding options for the establishment and management of hedgerows.

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Free support & advice about turtle dove habitat

If you want to find out how you can provide habitat for turtle doves on your farm contact your local Turtle Dove Conservation Adviser.

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