We can do more for nature when we work together! We've pulled together some great examples of how businesses, partners, supporters and individuals have helped us achieve even more for nature in 2018.

We know that some UK species are in serious decline, and we've been investigating the best ways to help halt declines and create more robust populations. One of these species is the iconic turtle dove.

Most often associated with Christmas, these migratory birds are actually wintering in sub-Saharan Africa right now, but that doesn't mean we've stood still! Teams of farmers, landowners, donors and conservationists across Kent and Sussex are working hard to create habitat for them so that they can come back to safer, better breeding grounds in the spring!

Since 1995 we’ve lost 94% of turtle doves in the UK. No UK bird is declining faster.

Earlier this year, we ran a national fundraising appeal to help us save this species and thanks to the generosity of our fabulous appeal donors we’ve reached our target of £265,000 and that this sum raised will finance our turtle dove recovery work across the RSPB over the next two years. This money will help us to give them back the seeds, hedgerows and ponds they need.

We've already made great progress on creating new habitat in Kent and Sussex through our work with Operation Turtle Dove.

Operation Turtle Dove is a partnership project dedicated to tackling the issues turtle doves face in the UK, such as lack of food, safe nesting habitat and diseases. Our RSPB conservation advisors have been working with all kinds of landowners, from heritage sites to farmers, community groups and even in rural back gardens across Kent and Sussex! 

We've offered advice on managing land for turtle doves, sown special seed mixes and helped create a vital mosaic of high quality breeding habitat across the South East. It's amazing how much impact lots of little pockets of habitat can make and we are hopeful this work will help to give turtle doves a brighter future in the UK.Turtle Dove by David Burridge

We've been working with over 30 landowners this year, and are keen to work with even more in 2019! If you think you could create turtle dove habitat on your land, visit the Operation Turtle Dove website for more information and advice.

We've also received some fantastic support from the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust, who donated £10,000 towards bespoke turtle dove seed mix in Kent, and John Swire who donated £5,000 towards special turtle dove feed in Kent and Sussex. Over the last few weeks, the Sussex Ornithological Society have also committed over £4000 to support this work in Sussex.

Together we can help give UK turtle doves a brighter future.

This blog was written by one of our South East volunteers, Libby Morris. If you are interested in finding out more about volunteering opportunities visit our website