Curlews are in serious decline across the UK because not enough chicks are surviving into adulthood. Curlew Action, in collaboration with Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, is helping right now by developing a Fieldworker’s Toolkit and by hosting training workshops. Together, these resources will provide essential information and practical advice on protecting and monitoring breeding Curlews. We want to get the Toolkit to fieldworkers before the start of the 2020 breeding season, but we need your help!
Why Are Curlews Disappearing?
Curlews, Britain’s largest wading bird, were once a common sight and their distinctive call could be heard along coasts and across farmland, lowland and upland, but today the Curlew is one of the most threatened birds in Britain. The threats they face are complex, but the heart of the problem is that not enough Curlew chicks are surviving into adulthood to sustain the current population.
Because Curlews are a ground nesting bird, this leaves them especially vulnerable to certain threats. Without enough suitable breeding sites predation rates of eggs and chicks are dangerously high. Furthermore, if nests are not found and monitored they may be accidently destroyed by farm machinery or animals.
What can be done? A Toolkit for Fieldworkers
Brilliant and dedicated fieldworkers, many of them volunteers, are out there trying to reverse the decline, but to do it they need help! Together with world-leading ornithologists, we are developing a Curlew Fieldworker’s Toolkit for people working on the ground.
Protecting ground-nesting birds such as Curlews is skilled work, and essential to our wider work collaborating with landowners and European partners to protected crucial breeding sites across the Curlews' entire range. Because of the importance of fieldwork in achieving these aims it essential everyone knows the best practice. The Fieldworker's Toolkit will achieve this by bringing all the vital information together in one accessible place.
The Toolkit will be an invaluable resource, and will include manuals with practical advice on topics such as basic fieldcraft, monitoring, and data gathering, together with essential guidance on the use of equipment such as heat loggers and GPS tags. It will also feature a series of case studies from different areas, detailing individual experiences across a range of habitats. With this Toolkit fieldworkers will be better able to locate and protect nests from predators with simple measures, such as temporary electric fencing. It will also enable them work together with landowners and farmers to prevent accidental damage to nest from farm machinery or animals.
We will be running a workshop in February 2020 to launch the Toolkit and give volunteers and fieldworkers the chance to meet and exchange further ideas, advice, and experiences. We plan to follow this up with a series of local meetings and workshops as well as instructional videos for those unable to attend in person.
Working together we can help make sure the Curlew has a future.
About Curlew Action
This campaign is being run by Curlew Action, which has been formed to help co-ordinate Curlew conservation efforts, work with landoweners, and support fieldworkers across the UK and Europe. In 2016 wildlife author Mary Colwell walked 500 miles across Ireland and the UK on the trail of the Curlew. Everywhere the story was the same, the Curlew was disappearing, especially on their breeding grounds. While the reasons where complex, one thing was certain, something had to be done if the decline in Curlews was to be stopped. This work helped bring together an alliance of individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, and from this Curlew Action was formed.
As a newly established organisation, Curlew Action has applied for charity status and is awaiting a decision by the Charity Commission.