Studies of West Palearctic birds: Turtle Dove.
The Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur has declined, in terms of both range and abundance, throughout much of northern Europe over the last 30 years. Until recently, the species was relatively poorly studied in the modern agricultural landscape in Britain. Concerns over its conservation status prompted an intensive research programme to gather information on its breeding ecology, identify the causes of the recent decline and make recommendations to aid its recovery and conservation. Turtle Doves require tall, overgrown bushes for nesting and short weed-rich areas for feeding, but agricultural intensification has markedly reduced the availability and suitability of these habitats. Over the last 40 years, Turtle Doves have switched from foraging in 'natural habitats' to those created by humans, and their diet is now primarily seeds from cultivated plants. The number of chicks fledged per pair per year is today almost half that in the 1960s, while autumn migration has become significantly earlier. Many management options to help to conserve the species can be achieved within the current UK agri-environment policy framework.