In 2012 we began a satellite tracking project to help us learn more about the movements of Turtle doves as they travel from their UK breeding grounds to Africa.
The aim of this study is to gather information on the migratory movements of turtle doves, and to identify important areas used en route and in Africa.
In 2014, one of our tagged birds, named Titan, became the first UK-breeding turtle dove to be tracked over the whole of its migratory journey, from Suffolk to West Africa and back again. We were also able to follow him for a second autumn / winter as he returned to Africa.
We have discovered a lot from following Titan, including his exact migration route, important stopover sites and multiple wintering locations, and even how these vary between years in response to environmental conditions, but we realise there is only a limited amount you can learn from just one bird. So, in 2016 we sought, and were given, permission to satellite tag more UK breeding turtle doves in the UK.
The satellite tracking map shows you the live location of our birds.
Bird 161004 has been given a name - Myrtle. Thank you to Claire Wilson, Anne Tomma, Howard Bayley, Jez Elkin, Hannah Gumbrell, Katy Spedding, Halina Morton, Susanna Allen, Ella Wooley, Julie Kimber and photo_cj for suggesting this name. We have only received two transmissions from Myrtle since 14 September 2016, telling us that he is still close to where he was caught in Cambridgeshire, UK. We believe that Myrtle may have perished. We do not know what may have caused his death, but some of the risks faced by turtle doves on their breeding grounds include predation and the stresses of preparing for migration.
Keep up to date with our Turtle dove news by following our blogs and on twitter @RSPBScience #titan #turtledove
What we’ve learnt from Titan the satellite tagged Turtle dove
Titan our satellite tagged turtle dove reaches his wintering grounds
Following Titan out satellite tagged turtle dove in suffolk
Titan the satellite tagged turtle dove finally makes a move
Meet Francoise the first turtle dove fitted with a gps tag in its wintering grounds of Africa
Tracking turtle dove nestlings to investigate post fledging survival and habitat selection
We have not heard from Titan since 22 April 2016, when he was still in Mali c.100km west of the capital Bamako.
We believe that Titan’s satellite tag battery may have reached the end of its lifespan. However, there is also a possibility that Titan may have perished.
Take a look at Titan’s migration journey and find out what we have learnt from him.
Open the map full screen here
Follow the journey of our satellite tagged turtle doves in more detail by downloading the satellite data for your copy of Google Earth.
Get the route for Google Earth
This project wouldn't be possible without the generous support of all the volunteers and farmers and the following organisations: Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Conservation Grade and Pensthorpe Conservation Trust - turtle doves.
Satellite-tagging of turtle doves is also being done in France and Spain. We donated five tags to the French team at ONCFS.
Read more about turtle doves, the problems they face and what we're doing to help.
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