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Turtle Dove Trust - East Anglia

Help save the turtle dove

Our unique approach is to boost and maintain a substantial wild flock of captive bred birds able to survive year round in Britain.

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Our Mission

The urgent conservation and study of the endangered Turtle Dove achieved by providing a safe breeding environment, the retention and creation of suitable nesting habitats and breeding in captivity and releasing locally in East Anglia.

About Us

The Turtle Dove Trust was founded in 2019. Based in East Anglia, we hope to expand into other areas. We have a passion for the conservation of wildlife and a particular interest in securing the future of the endangered Turtle Dove.

Get Involved

Whether you contribute financially or support us by reporting sightings or contribute to the maintenance of appropriate ecological conditions or assist in the science or study of the Turtle Dove you make a real difference to their survival.

Help us give the turtle dove a future

Join us and make a real difference to the long-term survival of this iconic and attractive farmland bird.

Support our Mission

Make a donation and or log a sighting. Your generosity makes our work possible.

Learn more about our work

Whether you contribute financially or volunteer your expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm.

A Species in Trouble

The Endangered Turtle Dove

Please help us to secure the future of the iconic Turtle Dove. Currently on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Turtle Dove is one of the fastest declining bird species in the UK, with an estimated 94% drop in population since 1995. 

A declining food source and a shorter season may have led to fewer broods per year. Food stress may also make Turtle Doves more susceptible to disease caused by the Trichomonas gallinae parasite.

Whilst Turtle doves are protected in the UK, large numbers are shot and trapped on their migration through some European countries. 

Help With their Future

We can help the survival of Turtle Doves by responding to the factors contributing to their decline. The Trust believes our project to be the most immediate solution, one that will make a huge difference in ensuring the continued future of the Turtle Dove in the UK.

What can we Do?

The Turtle Dove Trust provides captive bred Turtle Doves with a protected environment prior to releasing them into the wild. 

New purpose-built enclosures with automated drinkers have been installed in close proximity to the Trust’s release sites in North Norfolk. Their design allows the young Turtle Doves to learn how to forage for different mixtures of seed on different surfaces. We safely release them to the wild once the Oil-seed Rape and Barley crops have been harvested in these areas. Follow up data is made available by ringing all our captive birds on each leg and, subject to funding, geo-tagging a number of them.

Our aim is to encourage non-migration and to continually extend our system of captive breeding and release. 

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Ways you can help

Join our Efforts

Help us to address the 94% UK population decline since 1995. Your generosity makes our work possible.

Log a Sighting

Help us to target areas that will best benifit our conservation activities. Your generosity makes our work possible.

Make a Donation

Help us to continue our mission by making a financial contribution. Your generosity makes our work possible.

Turtle Dove at Wrabness, Essex - © Graham Russell

Two Turtle Doves feature in the well-known “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and have long been seen as a symbol of purity and enduring love due to their strong pair bonds. There are references to Turtle Doves in the Old and New testaments of the Bible as well as in literature, folk songs and folklore.

Turtle Dove Habitat - a track close to one of the Trust's release sites

Turtle Doves favour proximity to water, woodland edges and open farmland edged by large overgrown hedges. They are ground feeders and love to forage for grit and tiny seeds on open tracks. 

Did You Know?

The Turtle Dove is a member of the bird family Columbidae and has the scientific name Streptopelia turtur.

The breeding season runs from April to September but barely 1000 breeding pairs remain in the wild in the UK.

A clutch of two white eggs is laid. The male will help incubate the eggs which will hatch after around two weeks, with the nestlings fledgling up to three weeks later.

Natural predators are large mammals, raptors and domestic cats.

The figures speak for themselves
Captively Bred in 2023
Released into the wild in 2023
Over-Wintered for 2023/24

Our Sponsors

We would like to thank our generous sponsors and partners for their support.

Foundation stock provided by:

Mr & Mrs Tim Reynolds

Mr Jeremy Pitcher

Lady Jane Rice

We gratefully acknowledge other supplies received from the following:

PGA Construction and Electrical Services