On the second day of Christmas

my true love sent to me…

two turtle doves. We have collared doves and woodpigeons by the dozen but no turtle doves. Sorry.

We would love to welcome turtle doves to the park but they have become a rarity; their numbers have declined by a frightening 93% since the 1970s.

In UK, where they are the victim of half a century’s complex changes to climate and agriculture, they are classified as Red on the RSPB’s lists of Birds of Conservation Concern, and as a Priority Species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. In Europe, last year, the EU launched legal action against France and Spain, aimed to help protect the poor turtle dove from seasonal hunters, and globally, they are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The Wiltshire Ornithological Society says the nearest place to Trowbridge where turtle doves have been recently sighted, and may even be breeding, is Bromham. We have the woodland edges, hedgerows and open land that two turtle doves might be looking for if breeding were on their minds; let’s hope we can tempt them away from Bromham to our Nature Reserve.

Collared dove (Streptopelia decaocto); woodpigeon( Columba palumbus)
Header picture: turtle dove ( Streptopelia turtur) by Revital Salomon (CC BY-SA 4.0) Wikimedia commons

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