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EU LIFE+ Project - Securing the future of the stone-curlew in the UK

Stone-curlew portrait

Working with farmers and communities, we are reducing the stone-curlew's dependence on intervention from conservationists, making it more sustainable.

Stone-curlews' love of bare stony ground on short grassy heathland and downland, and their sensitivity to disturbance put them at risk in the 20th century. We've worked with farmers and landowners for 30 years to successfully recover the stone-curlew population, by protecting vulnerable nests on farmland. Now we need to reduce the stone-curlew's dependency on our intervention so that we can release funds to help recover other threatened species. By providing advice and support, and raising awareness, we hope to increase the amount of safe nesting habitat such as semi-natural grassland and nest plots on farmland. By the end of the project we hope three quarters of UK stone-curlews will be nesting on these safe habitats.This project is being carried out in two areas, for more details on the project's activities near you, please go to the Wessex Stone-curlew Project or Eastern England Stone-curlew Project pages links on the right. 

Project objectives

  • Provide information and advice on stone-curlews to a wide audience including farmers, land managers, local residents, decision makers and other organisations, to enable them to take action.
  • Promote the protection of core stone-curlew areas (from inappropriate development and poor management), particularly around the three Natura 2000 sites designated for stone-curlews: the Breckland, Salisbury Plain and Porton Down Specially Protected Areas (SPAs)
  • Help to double the carrying capacity of short grass-heath and downland (semi-natural habitats) for nesting stone-curlews through e.g. designing and facilitating better grazing and predation control regimes.
  • Improve the deployment of, and develop better management advice for fallow plots on arable farmland, to provide effective safe nesting habitat within arable crops where nest could be destroyed.
  • Work with Natural England to develop and strengthen the new Countryside Stewardship scheme, to ensure practical options are available to benefit stone-curlews, enabling more safe nesting habitat to be created cost efficiently on farmland (both arable and semi-natural grassland).
  • Reduce the long term need for annual interventions and intensive population monitoring, by supporting/developing innovative ways of monitoring the population and protecting nests on cropped land.

Progress so far

  • There were 270 fallow plots on arable farmland in 2015 (up from 240 in 2014), so we're getting close to the original project target of 290
  • Eighteen skilled volunteers are now helping to monitor and protect nests on farmland
  • stone-curlews are already starting to re-colonise new areas of restored grass heathland, with a pair taking up residence on an area not used for 40 years in 2015

Work planned or underway

Please read the newsletters below or click on the regional project pages on the right for more information. 


Downloads

The Brecks Newsletter June 2016

The Brecks Newsletter June 2016

2.22Mb, PDF

News from the Brecks on our work with stone-curlews and other wildlife.

Date: 15 June 2016

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The Brecks Newsletter January 2016

The Brecks Newsletter January 2016

605Kb, PDF

News from the Brecks on our work with stone-curlews and other wildlife.

Date: 8 February 2016

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Chalk Country Newsletter January 2016

Chalk Country Newsletter January 2016

889Kb, PDF

Your regional stone-curlew project newsletter

Date: 8 February 2016

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The Brecks Farmer Newsletter June 2015

The Brecks Farmer Newsletter June 2015

861Kb, PDF

News from the Brecks on our work with stone-curlews and other wildlife.

Date: 20 June 2016

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The Brecks Newsletter Winter 2014-2015

The Brecks Newsletter Winter 2014-2015

718Kb, PDF

News from the Brecks on our work with the stone curlew and other wildlife

Date: 13 February 2015

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Chalk Country Newsletter Winter 2014-2015

Chalk Country Newsletter Winter 2014-2015

289Kb, PDF

Our regional stone-curlew project newsletter

Date: 13 February 2015

Published in: Issue number 7

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Chalk Country newsletter - Winter 2013-2014

Chalk Country newsletter - Winter 2013-2014

721Kb, PDF

Issue 6 of the regional stone-curlew project newsletter

Date: 5 March 2014

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The Brecks Newsletter - Winter 2013-2014

The Brecks Newsletter - Winter 2013-2014

237Kb, PDF

News from the Brecks on our work with the stone curlew and other wildlife

Date: 7 February 2014

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Securing the future of the stone-curlew in the UK

Securing the future of the stone-curlew in the UK

428Kb, PDF

Information on the threats to this species in the UK and what we are doing to help it.

Date: 1 February 2013

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Who to contact

Emily Field
Project Manager- Stone-curlew UK (LIFE)
E-mail: emily.field@rspb.org.uk


Robert Hawkes
Project Officer - Heathland
E-mail: robert.hawkes@rspb.org.uk

Partners

The project’s objectives are supported by Natural England, and we will be working closely with other organisations, landowners and land managers including the Ministry of Defence and Wildlife Trusts.

Funding

Funded by EU LIFE+, Supporting the implementation of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, and Natura 2000 network of protected sites. 

EU LifeNature 2000