Curlew recovery programme
With their amazing curved bills, long legs and resonating calls, curlews are one of our most charismatic birds - and also one of our most important.
International importance of UK population
Curlews are in trouble
- Raise awareness of the curlew's plight and build support for conservation
- Develop an understanding of the management practices required to reverse curlew population declines across the landscape through the implementation of a trial management study
- Work with others, especially land managers and statutory nature conservation bodies to target conservation efforts across the curlew's range.
- In spring 2013, the RSPB held a cross-UK summit to review the curlew's status, consider the available research and think how we improve their conservation status.
- In spring 2014, we convened a meeting with UK and Irish nature conservation organisations to develop and agree on a conservation programme for the UK and Ireland. Attendees included BirdWatch Ireland, SNH, Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, Northern Ireland Environment Agency and JNCC.
- In parallel to work at home, the RSPB coordinated an international conservation plan. Developed under the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), it provides a framework for conservation action across the curlew's range - including northern Europe and Russia as well as important non-breeding countries in Africa and the Middle East. The plan was published in November 2015.
- The Trial Management Project is a key part of the Curlew Recovery Programme. A total of six sites have been identified across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland where we will test the habitat management and predator control interventions required to inform the development of 'curlew-friendly' land management options. In addition to monitoring how curlew respond to the changes we make on these trial sites, we will monitor how curlew are doing on linked 'control' sites which do not have the enhanced management. Baseline monitoring at the sites was undertaken during the breeding season in 2015.
- In spring 2016, an Ireland and UK curlew action group was established to shape, drive and integrate a co-ordinated conservation programme of work with the aim of improving the conservation status of the curlew. Participants include BirdWatch Ireland, BTO, SNH, Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Northern Ireland and JNCC.
- The Trial Management Project will continue to deliver habitat management and predator control across the six sites. The curlew response will be monitored annually.
- The recovery programme will develop best practice management advice to support advisors and nature reserve managers. This includes hosting a series of open days on each of the trial management sites. These will showcase our aims for the programme.