As mentioned in the Friday round up! The big news at present is the release of the latest Bird Atlas 2007 – 11 I know several members of the Dove Step team participated in the survey effort which was undertaken by 40 000 volunteers! There is a helpful review of the Atlas over on Mark Avery’s site.
Obviously, the first thing we did was thumb through to find the Turtle Dove pages. The BTO have kindly allowed me to replicate the Turtle Dove plate and a couple of comparatives past distribution maps (click to view larger):
Looking at the 1968 – 72 breeding distribution closely followed by the 2008 – 11 is a deeply saddening experience. A huge geographic contraction couple with a free-fall of confirmed breeding dots.
This comparison is helpfully translated into the above ‘All Atlases’ figure. The thirteen upward ‘gain’ arrows are overwhelmed by the mass of grey ‘loss’ arrows bordering the west of the range and eating eastwards into the core breeding distribution.
So, what do we take from this dramatic decline?
Firstly, supporting Operation Turtle Dove is a great use of our time and effort! The research and advice Operation Turtle Dove are able to undertake is the ‘front line’ in trying to alter the dramatic decline shown in the above maps. Of course this is only achievable with the necessary funding.
To this end we are doing what we can to spread awareness and fundraise. Using what we have available to us – which is basically our bodies and time off! Dove Step was the natural conclusion we came to. Through Dove Step and covering the whole of the core breeding distribution or Turtle Dove ‘heartland’ we hope others will be moved to help Operation Turtle Dove and perhaps even donate via the JustGiving page?