Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open for Turtle Doves

The increasingly rare but beautiful turtle doves will be returning to Kent after spending the winter in Sub Saharan Africa. From now (April-May) they should be arriving in East Kent and moving inland as they look for breeding territory.

We can expect to see the first nests between mid-May and mid-June and the first young between mid-June and mid-July. Look out for their distinctive mottled feathers, which help distinguish them from the collared dove!

Some key facts:

  • Turtle doves in the UK have declined by 94% since 1995.

  • While Kent is a UK stronghold for turtle doves, there may be as few as 200 pairs nesting in the county.

  • The small seeds of agricultural weed plants are valuable food for turtle doves.

  • Turtle doves need ponds or other water sources close to their nest site for drinking.
Image of turtle dove

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