Turtle dove numbers may have hit new low

Numbers of England's most threatened farmland bird may have plunged to new lows due to last year's washout summer, the RSPB has warned.

The conservation group said recorded sightings of turtle doves are significantly down this year and this summer's population is likely to be lower than ever.

Conservationists warn the number of turtle doves may have plunged to new lows. Credit: RSPB/PA Wire

Official figures show that turtle doves have suffered declines of 80 percent in the countryside since 1995.

Turtle doves were once widespread in southern Britain, but the population is now estimated at just 14,000 pairs - less than a tenth of the number in 1970.