Turtle Doves in a Changing Landscape

Jennifer Vreugdenhil-Rowlands

Turtle Doves are disappearing from our landscape: since the 1970s, the Netherlands has seen a 97% population decline. The international disappearance of Turtle Doves is a complex and international problem – drivers such as hunting, loss of habitat and disease all play a role. Of these factors, breeding habitat loss is the only aspect we can directly influence in the Netherlands. This can only happen when we know more about their habitat needs.

Research was initiated in 2018 using the latest tracking technology to follow small-scale movements of 5 Turtle Doves in Zeeland. It is the first time that GPS-transmitters have been used to track Turtle Doves, and it’s been a steep learning curve!

Now, as we near the end of the project, we present our findings: what were their preferred habitats and where did these individuals search for food? What does this mean for Turtle Dove conservation on the breeding grounds? And what happens next… ?