With love in the air and wedding season in full swing many will be saddened by the news that the turtle dove is in sharp decline. Numerous surveys have indicated that the bird, an ancient symbol of true love and peace, has disappeared from almost half its nesting sites in the UK over the past twenty years. This trend has been documented in a new edition of The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Britain and Ireland, due to be published in two years' time.
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The Norfolk Wildlife Trust cites poaching as a possible explanation:: 'Whilst turtle doves are protected in Britain, they are shot in huge numbers during migration, It is estimated that as many as 2 - 4 million turtle doves are shot and trapped as they pass through Europe.'
The numbers in that last quote are incredible, between 2 and 4 million per anum: conservationists can do everything in country, but if outside this continues, well...