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The start of an exciting research project

Foraging Fields for Turtle Doves - Pilot Year


After a cold start to the year, rain that lasted for days and then a bit of a heat wave, it’s been incredibly difficult to make our sown fields suitable for foraging turtle doves. All 6 participating fields were sown in the first half of May, and we are only now seeing the first plants coming into seed.

Photo: We are testing 2 sowing periods during this project: spring and autumn. This May the first seed was sown into our spring fields.


Trap cameras have been deployed, and a small group of volunteers have been visiting the fields to monitor them for any sign of birds or animals using them. While this information is extremely valuable, it currently asks a lot of perseverance from them: without seed, the fields have of course been incredibly quiet. Hopefully this will quickly change once the first seed is available.


The trap cameras have picked up photos of crow, magpie, mallard duck, wood pigeon and stock dove, along with various other animals (hare, fox, and roe- and fallow deer).


Since May, we have also been kept busy with ongoing communication surrounding the projects.


On behalf of all partners, BirdLife NL released an online article on Nature Today on 14th April (‘Lichtpuntjes voor de zomertortel’), marking the official start of the Foraging Fields for Turtle Doves project.

The return of Jos the turtle dove led to his beautiful species gaining much media interest from the PZC, Omroep Zeeland and Vroege Vogels in May. NPO Radio 1 broadcast a short piece about turtle doves and our research in Zeeland on the 20th June on their Vroege Vogels program (similar to the BBC’s Springwatch). You can still listen to this online – it is approx. 81 minutes into the program. Photo: Corstiaan Beeke


Poldernatuur Zeeland gave two excursions in June regarding this new research: one for the deputy minister of Zeeland Anita Pijpelink, and René Steijn, the other for a group of agriculture and landscape specialists (SCAN). A further presentation and excursion is planned in July for their member council.


We are looking forward to a busy summer and, with a bit of luck, our spring-sown fields will follow suit and soon be buzzing with wildlife.




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