The turtle dove is the UK's fastest declining bird species. In 1996 it was placed on the UK Conservation Red list, meaning they are of the highest conservation priority, with species on this list needing urgent action.

In fact their numbers have suffered a 94% decline since 1995, and there are now only a few thousand pairs left in the UK.

One of the reasons for this is thought to be lack of seed and grain as food during the summer breeding season. Turtle doves spend the winter in West Africa, so it is important that they have a reliable food source when they arrive in the country. Where there is not enough food availability they will not be able to have as many broods, impacting breeding outcomes for generations to come.

At Millennium Country Park we're lucky to have turtle doves take up residence every year.

We want this fantastic species to flourish, and to do that we need breeding pairs to come back to our site time and time again.

We're raising money to fund a new project focussed on providing a fantastic feeding and breeding habitat for turtle doves with the creation of two new turtle dove feeding plots.

Turtle doves are mostly found in woodland edges, hedgerows and open land with scattered bushes - luckily that's a habitat we have a lot of at Millennium Country Park, but in order to create the best conditions for breeding it is vital that they have a reliable food source when they arrive in the country.

We've already started ground preparations on one of the plots in the hope of starting work as soon as possible, but as a small charity with a lot of woodland and the Country Park to manage our resources are limited. Turtle doves are only in the country from April to September, so the sooner we can start work on seeding the plot and providing a food source the better.

If breeding conditions are good then breeding pairs can rear several broods of two chicks before they migrate back to Africa in late August/September for the winter.

How your donation will help

Wildlife can be unpredictable, and we want to ensure maximum success for our feeding plots with two different approaches.

With your help we can buy enough seed to provide a plentiful food source for breeding from now until the end of July, meaning that food will be immediately available so that each pair can get into breeding condition quicker. We'll then put down extra seed each week to keep levels topped up. We also want to create a new ground feeding area and plant this up with a bespoke seed mix, ready for next year. This area will be allowed to grow, and the plants themselves will provide a perfect grazing patch full of seed for the turtle doves to feed off and create an ideal breeding and feeding habitat so that they can successfully raise more chicks and ensure a better future for this beautiful bird.

Raising £2500 will cover the immediate cost needed to start the project this year, and including all the seed needed for both feeding plots for the next three years - please help us with a donation today.

Help us plant and protect more woodland and habitats in the Forest

We're working hard to create habitat that benefits wildlife for now and in the future. To help us plant and maintain more woodlands in the Forest please consider joining with a small monthly donation:

Become a Friend of the Forest