A project for their recovery run by Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Shropshire Ornithological Society

Shropshire Wildlife Trust (SWT) and Shropshire Ornithological Society (SOS) have launched a joint Save our Curlews campaign, funded by an appeal.

The UK has an estimated 28% of the European breeding population, more in winter, and an estimated 19-27% of the world population. Curlew was added to the Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern in 2015 because of a decline of 62% since the 1960s.

Culrew nest containing four eggs, a typical clutch size

In Shropshire, the population has declined by an estimated 77% in only 20 years, from around 700 pairs in 1990 to around 160 pairs during the recent Atlas monitoring period. Monitoring carried out by Community Wildlife Groups has demonstrated that numbers are still going down.

Immediate conservation action is deemed necessary if the evocative bubbling song of the Curlew is not to be lost from the county forever.

Eight Community Wildlife Groups (CWG) will be repeating bird surveys during 2018, mostly concentrating on the monitoring of Curlew as well as a number of species of conservation concern.

Volunteers can make an important contribution to their local Community Wildlife Group, by surveying a tetrad. This usually involves three half-day visits, around 1 April, 1 May and mid-June. The surveys are easy, simple instructions are provided, and fieldwork training is available for anyone that wants it. The results are used to promote local conservation. In particular, they pinpoint Curlew territories to help the Save our Curlews campaign to locate and protect nests.

Curlew are ground-nesting and have suffered from the rise in early silage making, rather than traditional hay, and a loss of damp feeding grounds. Predators too, have taken their toll. Research over the last few years has shown a way forward. Together the project team will work with community organisations and landowners to:

  • Identify spring nest locations – protecting them from predators and letting farmers know where they are.
  • Radio tag some chicks to monitor their behaviour and inform conservation work.
  • Recruit and train volunteers to monitor birds and nests.
  • Advise landowners.
  • Work to ensure new agri-environment schemes support curlew conservation.

Reversing the decline will take prolonged effort; an appeal has been launched which aims to raise £15,000 which will enable this vital conservation work in earnest in 2018

Please see this link for an appeal letter that you can print out to fill in and make a donation http://www.shropshirebirds.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Appeal-letter-2nd-page.pdf

If you pay UK tax, please fill in the Gift Aid declaration. It enables SWT to reclaim 25p in the £, increasing the value of your donation

Please give generously to support long term action to reverse the decline of one of our  most iconic local breeding species.

For further information, contact Leo Smith, the SOS representative on the Shropshire Curlew Group, on 01694 720296 or at leo@leosmith.org.uk