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Huge decline in turtle dove numbers
11:18am Wednesday 18th September 2013 in News
TURTLE doves in the south-east have declined by 86 per cent since 1994, the RSPB has warned.
The summer visitors to the UK were once a common sight across farmland and are easily distinguished by their small size, and chestnut-and-black mottled colouring on the wings.
The species no longer breeds in Wales and there are fears it could soon disappear as a breeding bird in England, with only a few strongholds left in south-east England and East Anglia.
Hayley New, RSPB agricultural projects officer for the south-east, said: “Turtle dove numbers are reaching drastically low levels; the prospect of losing this beautiful bird from our shores is becoming increasingly real.
“They were once widespread but have suffered a massive decline in the south-east in the last few decades alone. A reduction in breeding attempts from up to four per year to just one has had a huge impact on the population numbers.”
To help reverse the fortunes of the turtle dove, the RSPB is calling on landowners in Hampshire to consider establishing pollen and nectar mixes targeting the doves as part of their Environmental Stewardship agreements, or as a voluntary option.
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