Curlew Conservation Programme Update June 2017
The Curlew Conservation Programme is now well underway, with local teams acting with landowners to help breeding Curlew in six of the most important areas in Ireland for the species. The local teams are generally comprised of a Curlew Advisory Officer, a local Curlew Champion and a Nest Protection Officer. NPWS Conservation Rangers and management are also centrally involved in a number of areas. The programme is being led by Dr. Barry O’Donoghue of the Agri-Ecology Unit in NPWS. The programme places the landowner and the birds at the centre of all considerations, with key goals of giving the Curlews a better chance of rearing chicks and stopping the population sliding further towards extinction.
Given this is a pioneering project in Ireland, there is also a research element, in the form of a PhD, being undertaken at the School of Agriculture in UCD, in collaboration with BirdWatch Ireland. This research is funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.
The Curlew Conservation Programme is focussing as a pilot on six of the most important areas in Ireland for breeding Curlew, including the Stack’s Mountains in Kerry, Lough Ree, North Roscommon and Leitrim, North Monaghan, Donegal and Lough Corrib. In each of these areas, local teams are surveying for Curlew, engaging in nest protection efforts and liaising with landowners. Funding is available for landowners to engage in efforts on the programme, including habitat improvement works.
So far this season, breeding Curlew numbers appear to be lower than in previous years, reminding us of just how serious the situation is for Curlew. However, the project has been buoyed by the recent good news of young Curlew chicks being found by the conservation project. These young chicks symbolise the hope that we have for the Curlew.
Landowners and members of the public are asked to get in touch with the Agri-Ecology Unit of NPWS, on 01-8883255, if they would like to let the project know of any Curlew sightings during the summer or if they would like to get involved with the project or engage in habitat improvement works.
Local Curlew Action Teams (photo by Andrew Speer, NPWS).
These young chicks symbolise the hope that we have for the Curlew,
Curlew Chick (photo by Tony Cross, Curlew Country Project)