Conservation at Work

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Curlew Celebrations on the Moors

10th May 2024

A series of events have taken place in the uplands celebrating the curlew, to coincide with World Curlew Day on 21 April.

In the North York Moors, the charity Curlew Acurlewction organised  a guided walk with the ornithologist David Turner, for members of the public, which was fully booked up well in advance.

Curlew Action was founded by Mary Colwell, an award-winning author and campaigner for nature, to help raise awareness of the plight of the curlew. Platinum-selling musician David Gray, who has a lifelong passion for nature, is a patron and ambassador for Curlew Action.

We issued a press release with pictures following the event and created social media posts with a reach of over 10,000 to highlight the importance of grouse moor management for breeding curlew. Ninety per cent of grouse moors have curlew nesting successfully.

In the Northern Pennines, The Duke of Northumberland hosted an event at Alnwick Playhouse combining music and conversation between Mary Colwell and David Gray, discussing how nature influences David’s music and why he is a patron of Curlew Action. The evening raised funds for the charity and was a huge hit with the audience. Media coverage of this event included the Northumberland Gazette and Newcastle Chronicle.

The Yorkshire Dales Moorland Group has a series of curlew safaris taking place again this year, tailored to different audiences.

The Curlew Safaris for members of the public at Bolton are scheduled for 8th and 9th June. We have arranged for the Yorkshire Post to cover this event, with a feature due to appear in early May.

Among the many conservation projects being undertaken across our moors, work is ongoing between the Bolton Estate, participating farmers across Wensleydale, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the British Trust for Ornithology to evaluate different ways in which farmers can contribute towards curlew monitoring and conservation.  As part of the project, curlew have been ringed and some satellite tagged, providing data on their over-wintering locations and the importance of different habitats.

Our members are also taking part in the UK’s largest curlew translocation project again this year, with five participating estates working once again with the Duke of Norfolk and other partners to safely transport chicks and eggs from grouse moors in the uplands to keepered landholdings in Sussex, Dorset and Kent, with the aim of helping curlew to re-establish breeding territories in southern England. We will keep you posted on this extraordinary scheme in the next few weeks.

Careful habitat management and predator control has proven to be crucial for this species, as numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies have shown.

Congratulations to all those who are not just championing curlew conservation but helping to reverse the decline of this much-loved bird with practical action that works!



Did You Know?

75% of Europe’s remaining upland heather moorland is found in the UK – but this area declined alarmingly over the latter part of the last century. The Moorland Association was set up in 1986 to coordinate the efforts of moorland owners and managers to halt this loss, particularly in England and Wales.

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RECORD HIGH FOR CURLEW ON WENSLEYDALE ESTATE The Bolton Estate in Wensleydale is celebrating a record number of nesting Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) this year, with an estimated 250 pairs on the estate. By contrast there are thought to be only 450 pairs of curlew in the whole of the south of England, from Birmingham to Land’s End. The curlew is a […]

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