A Turtle Dove was in the farmhouse valley this morning, our first since 2007 and only the sixth record of this species in the last ten years. They used to be a relatively common spring and autumn migrants here on the Pembrokeshire Islands but have become scarse in recent years.
Ongoing research indicates that potential causes of the decline may include changes in diet driven by alterations in farming practices in the UK and in their African wintering grounds. Hunting in the Mediterranean during migration and the disease trichomoniasis, (common in pigeons and doves) could have also contributed. The Turtle Dove's range has shrunk largely to eastern England, making the turtle dove the UK's most threatened farmland bird.
Find out more about Operation turtle dove, a three-year project in partnership with Conservation Grade and Pensthorpe Conservation Trust, supported by Natural England. You can also report your sightings of Turtle Dove on this website.