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North Yorkshire Turtle Dove Project

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The beautiful Turtle Dove is our smallest European dove but this tiny power house also flies the furthest; a bird nicknamed Titan was radio tracked in 2014 and found to have flown 11,200 km from Mali in Africa back to its nesting site in Suffolk. He flew up to 700 km per night, at speeds up to 60 km per hour! Unfortunately Turtle Doves are in big trouble; their population has declined in both the UK and Europe to such an extent there may now be fewer than 100 birds nesting in the whole of Yorkshire. Only 50 years ago it was classed as a fairly common bird.

In 2016 Richard Baines YCN Director set up the North Yorkshire Turtle Dove Project as a volunteer group. The aim of the group was to survey the population, improve national awareness of this population and move as quickly as possible to conservation action to improve the fortunes of these beautiful birds.


In 2017 a three year National Lottery Heritage Project grant allowed us to do all these things and much more! We had three funded years resulting in the project being awarded the 'Best Conservation Project' award in UK National Parks 2019. Lots of great work was carried out by North York Moors National Park, Howardian Hills AONB, North and East Yorkshire Ecological Data Centre, Scarborough Borough Council and RSPB Operation Turtle Dove. Richard has now returned to being the Volunary Project Officer and is determined to continue working hard to save our North Yorkshire Turtle Doves.

To volunteer for the group and find out how you can help please email Richard