The Kent Ornithological Society is conducting a survey of Turtle Doves in Kent during 2021, in collaboration with the RSPB, the Rare Breeding Birds Panel, Natural England and BTO, who are conducting a national survey.
This popular and attractive summer migrant has decreased across the UK in recent times, with a particularly marked decline in the last 10 years. It is believed that the major factor contributing to the decline in the UK is the lack of suitable foraging habitat during the spring and summer months. Sadly, the Turtle Dove has now been added to the list of species monitored by the Rare Breeding Birds Panel (RBBP). A recent RBBP enquiry has revealed that Kent is now the top county for this species in the UK and as such we have a responsibility to try and make an accurate assessment of the Kent population.
The aim of the 2021 survey is to get volunteers to visit selected 1km squares across Kent and for them to record any Turtle Doves encountered. The visits need to be within the first two hours after sunrise and should be made on two different occasions during the breeding season which is May to July.
Turtle Doves typically inhabit farmland areas and have a predilection for areas with a mix of arable farmland and broad-leafed woodland, particularly scrub and young woodland. This habitat, and surrounding farmland, is also likely to hold other species that are important in Kent such as Nightingale, Yellow Wagtail, Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting. The survey aims to gather records of these species as well as Turtle Dove, so making the best use of volunteer survey visits.
Survey instructions and recording forms, along with a map of the selected 1km square, can be downloaded from this website and printed. To get started, view the county map to see the available survey squares.