Another iconic species that is genuinely facing extinction is the Eurasian Curlew. Until recently, this species received less attention in Breckland than Woodlark, Stone-curlew and Nightjar. BWFN is trying to change that and to increase the Curlew’s chances of survival
Curlew – a Breckland bird
Saving the Curlew it is arguably one of the UK’s most pressing bird conservation priorities. This is because the UK’s internationally significant breeding population (we hold 25% of the global population) is declining at an alarming rate. Importantly, Breckland is one the UK’s most important lowland Curlew strongholds, which means conservation efforts are urgently needed here to secure the species long term survival.
Curlew studies reveal their predators
Since 2017, this species has received more attention in Breckland, first by Natalia Zielonka and now by Harry Ewing (UEA PhD student). Natalia discovered that grassland Curlew are attracted to ground disturbance plots for nesting, but suffer from high rates of nest and chick failure. Using temperature sensors and nest cameras she discovered that predation was the main problem and Foxes were the main culprit. Please read this excellent blog for more details about Natalia’s study.
Harry is expanding the work originally started by Natalia by monitoring Curlew nests across a wider range of important breeding habitats, including RAF bases, other MoD sites, and arable fields. Over the next two years his research will hopefully uncover practical conservation solutions to address the productivity problems this species clearly faces. He is already monitoring many Curlew nests in partnership with many BFWN members, which in some cases has led to enhanced nest protection efforts (such as anti-predator fences, see above).