Posted on: 31 Aug 2016
Six European Turtle Doves are being satellite-tracked from their breeding grounds in Britain to their wintering grounds in West Africa to better understand why the population is declining so rapidly.
The scheme parallels the British Trust for Ornithology's Common Cuckoo tracking sheme which has resulted in many revelations about the species' migration strategy and survival rates. It also comes hot on the heels of news that funding for the Countryside Stewardship scheme which has helped turtle doves in the recent past will remain in place for the next couple of years at least, after a guarantee by DEFRA.
According to the recent UK Breeding Bird Survey, the number of European Turtle Doves has declined by 93 per cent since 1994. Last year, for the first time, the RSPB revealed the complete migration route of a satellite-tagged British breeding turtle dove named Titan, which provided valuable data in the conservation fight to help save the species from extirpation from the country.
Titan’s satellite signal was lost earlier this year when the bird was in Mali, and now the RSPB in partnership with Operation Turtle Dove (OTD) are following six more.