As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

EU acts to protect future of bird facing extinction in UK

European commission moves to halt loss of habitat for migrating turtle doves

Jennifer Rankin in Brussels

Thu 25 Jul 2019 13.13 BST Last modified on Thu 25 Jul 2019 17.00 BST

The European commission has launched legal action that could protect one of the best-known birds of the English countryside from extinction.

The turtle dove – once a familiar sound of summer in south-east England – has been in steep decline since the 1970s because of intensive farming across Europe.

The birds are now listed as vulnerable by BirdLife International, a global partnership of conservation organisations, and are on the brink of extinction in the UK. With their mottled chestnut and black wings, the dainty birds feature in Shakespeare, the Bible and were the true love’s gift on the second day of Christmas.

Ariel Brunner, the senior head of policy at BirdLife International, said the turtle dove was “on life support” in England and could disappear from the English countryside by 2021 without urgent action across Europe. “The turtle dove is an iconic species that was providing the soundtrack of spring since the times of the Bible’s Song of Songs. But it is now racing to extinctionbecause of unsustainable agriculture and hunting.”

The commission announced on Thursday that France and Spain had not done enough to protect the birds from habitat loss and hunting during their migration from the Sahel to their breeding grounds in northern Europe. Spain hosts more than half the EU’s breeding population of turtle doves, while France has another 10%, meaning conservation efforts in those countries will be critical for the future of the birds.

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