The disappearing Turtle Dove

2021 Turtle Dove Survey – England


As many will know, the Turtle Dove has been in serious decline in the UK and in Berkshire the situation is particularly acute as the species has now become uncommon and an extremely local summer visitor which continues to decline.

In view of the general situation across the country, a new survey is being planned to assess the status of the dove in England in 2021, subject to Covid-19 conditions. The survey is being organised by the Rare Breeding Birds Panel (RBBP) and RSPB, with the support of BTO and Natural England. It is hoped that county-level surveys can be conducted in core counties across the known range, with coverage of known sites or recent historical sites in other counties. Berkshire is no longer a core county but surveys here will contribute to the assessment of the dove’s current status and also of recent historical sites.

Surveys will aim to detect the presence and abundance of singing male Turtle Doves with two visits between mid-May and early August. Each survey should be undertaken between sunrise and 0900hrs: 70% of singing males should be detected within the first two hours after sunrise, after which vocal activity decreases markedly.

If you are interested, please see the RBBP webpage for more information and contact Simon Wotton, RSPB, who  is coordinating the survey (Email:

Sean Murphy, BTO Regioanl Representative

Conservation note: Whether or not you take part in the survey, if you are lucky enough to find a Turtle Dove in Berkshire, please tell the County Recorder as soon as possible – the BOC conservation team is ready to work with landowners on measures to support breeding attempts.