An exciting and innovative conservation project called ‘Two Turtle Doves’ has secured £100,000 of funding enabling it to go ahead. The Project recently secured an HLF ‘Our Heritage’ grant of 64k forming the bulk of the cash to enable the biodiversity project to happen.
A partnership led by North York Moors National Park will set up a three year project to help the iconic Turtle Dove in and around North Yorkshire’s forests. Facing national declines of 91% since 1995 this summer migrant may be faring better in North Yorkshire than elsewhere and we want to celebrate this, find out why and help them do even better through conservation measures. Contributing match funding or expertise, The National Park’s partners in the scheme include the Forestry Commission, Ryedale District Council, the RSPB, Scarborough Borough Council, Howardian Hills AONB and the North East Yorkshire Ecological Data Centre.
Surveys by volunteers, rising before dawn to catch the bird’s distinctive purring call have already contributed to a picture of this species’ status in North Yorkshire. It seems that they may be bucking the national trend and we hope to find out why and see what can be done through positive land management measures combined with an awareness-raising campaign. Farmers, parish and community groups, schools and visitors to Dalby and Sutton Bank visitor centres will all be engaged in the Two Turtle Doves project to learn about this summer visitor, its habitat needs and what can be done to help the species here in Yorkshire.
A press release from North York Moors NP outlines the scheme. More news of the project officer role will come in due course, but meanwhile if you are competent birder willing to get up before dawn, you could volunteer to survey a square for Turtle Doves in Dalby Forest this summer, following on from a survey last year in Cropton Forest. Thirty 1km squares have been randomly selected for survey and at time of going to press there are still some unallocated. Contact Cath Bashforth, FC ecologist for info about the volunteer survey or to enquire about doing a square. I did one last May/ June and it was a really special experience being out in the forest and farmland in the magical first few hours of daylight. Trust me it will put a smile on your face, as it did me if my Instagram post is anything to go by.