Sustained population declines have been recorded in recent decades across the UK and the rest of Europe. The British Isles are of global importance for these charismatic birds. We host one third of the world’s oystercatchers and a quarter of the world’s curlews, now a bird of global conservation concern.
The project area contains one of the most important populations of breeding waders in the UK. However, repeat surveys of certain valleys have shown steep declines since the 1980s, due to changing agricultural practices, new forestry plantations and increasing predation.
Other valleys have been subject to less change, often due to agri-environment funding. In these valleys, the tumbling display flight of the lapwing and the bubbling song of the curlew remain common sights and sounds during springtime.
It is critical we act together to conserve important populations where they exist. This relies on continuing the beneficial agricultural practices which provide the patchwork of improved pastures, wet grasslands and wetland that the birds need. As such, we are working with farmers, SAC Consulting and SGRPID to ensure these wildlife-friendly farming practices continue and are adequately supported by agri-environment schemes.