No decline on the scale shown by turtle doves (decline by 74% across Europe since 1980) is going to be reversed by a single action. But last years’ 300 mile walk, completed by the Dove Step team, raised enough money to install 9 hectares of feeding habitat. This small amount can make a difference, but perhaps more importantly, raised awareness will help to create stronger public support for the Turtle Dove and other species threatened in our wider countryside.
The Dove Step campaign is very lucky to have the support of a select few companies: all of which we are extremely grateful to. Wild Frontier Ecology has championed the Dove Step campaign from first principles, through bolstering our fundraising total each year and by allowing its director Sir Robert Yaxley to walk hundreds of miles over days and weeks.
With just days left until we commence this years epic journey I wanted readers to hear directly from Sir Rob and on behalf of Wild Frontier Ecology:
I have surveyed birds for about 30 years both in a professional and personal capacity. During that time there have been some massive changes in my local avifauna. There have been some welcome additions, such as Common Buzzard, Little Egret and Cetti’s Warbler, but these have been more than offset by the disappearance (or nearly so) of other species – for example, Willow Tit, Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, Tree Sparrow and Turtle Dove. The reasons for these disappearances are often complex. With the Turtle Dove, it is apparent that it has been hit hard by the reduced plant diversity in the countryside, the dangers of long-distance migration and probably the parasite Trichomonas gallinae.
Knowing this I believe it would be wrong to stand by and let Turtle Doves become extinct in the UK without a really big effort to save them. This is what has driven myself and the other Dove Step team members to a really mammoth physical effort. Also, as ecologists, it is within our professional gift to advise on impacts on threatened species, and to recommend actions towards providing for these species in the future. So on both a personal and organisational level, this is a Good Thing.
And that is why Wild Frontier Ecology supports Dovestep 2.
Sir Robert Yaxley – April, 2015
Check out Wild Frontier via their website and also Facebook page. Follow our journey via this blog from this Saturday, 18th April and support our fundraising for Operation Turtle Dove via the JustGiving page.