World Curlew Day is a global awareness day that celebrates the curlew, a large wading bird that is found in many parts of the world. The day is held on April 21st, which is the feast day of Saint Beuno, the patron saint of curlews.
Curlews are beautiful and iconic birds. They are known for their long, downcurved bills, mottled brown plumage, and haunting calls. Curlews are also long-lived birds, with some individuals known to live for up to 30 years.
However, curlews are facing a number of threats, including habitat loss, hunting, and climate change. As a result, curlew populations have declined by as much as 80% in some parts of the world.
World Curlew Day is a chance to raise awareness of the plight of curlews and to encourage people to get involved in conservation efforts. There are many things that can be done to help curlews, such as:
- Protecting their habitats: Curlews need open, wet habitats to breed and raise their young. We can help to protect curlew habitat by supporting sustainable agriculture practices, reducing our use of pesticides, and planting native plants.
- Reducing hunting: Curlews are still hunted in some parts of the world. We can help to reduce hunting by supporting legislation that protects curlews and by educating hunters about the importance of curlews.
- Mitigating climate change: Climate change is a major threat to curlews. We can help to mitigate climate change by reducing our carbon emissions, supporting renewable energy, and planting trees.
By taking these steps, we can help to ensure that curlews continue to thrive for generations to come.
How we’re helping
Curlews like to breed in a wide-open space with sufficient rough grass and ground cover, and a damp feeding area nearby. In recent years, they’ve been making themselves at home at military airfields in East Anglia. But all those aircraft pose a threat the curlews, not to mention the fact a single flying curlew could destroy a jet fighter if sucked into the air intake. The MOD used to destroy curlew eggs to deter the birds, but our pioneering project has resulted in a different approach.
Since 2021 we have been retrieving these precious eggs from airfields. These precious eggs are transported to Pensthorpe where we artificially incubate and monitor them. Once the eggs hatch, we rear the chicks in specially designed pens until they are ready to be released. All the chicks are ringed, while some are fitted with GPS tags and radio devices to help researchers understand more about where the birds fly to and monitor them after release. After about four months, they’re taken to carefully selected sites in west Norfolk, including Wild Ken Hill and Sandringham Estate, where they’re released back into the wild.
Today we have also had confirmation of our first clutch of eggs found at one of the airbases, on World Curlew Day!
Here are some ways you can celebrate World Curlew Day:
- Learn more about curlews: There are many resources available to learn more about curlews, such as books, websites, and documentaries.
- Get involved in a conservation project: There are many conservation projects that are working to protect curlews. You can find a project to get involved in by searching online or contacting your local conservation organisation.
- Spread the word: Share information about curlews with your friends, family, and community. The more people who know about curlews, the more likely we are to be able to protect them.
By taking these steps, you can help to make a difference for curlews.