Stunning curlew conservation success, as RSPB NI announces spectacular breeding results - RSPB

RSPB NI has today (9 January) revealed the results of its record-breaking curlew breeding season in 2022 which saw the number of curlew chicks successfully fledging in the Glenwherry area more than double compared to 2021.

Curlew, a brown and cream speckled slim bird with long grey legs and long curvedbill, standing on rough grass
Eurasian curlew (Photo by Niven McCrie )

The long-term decline in curlew numbers on the island of Ireland has worried conservationists and bird-lovers alike for many years. But now the latest breeding season in the Glenwherry area of the Antrim Plateau has sparked real hope for a recovery of its numbers in Northern Ireland. This conservation success didn’t happen by accident. The incredible results are down to a combination of tireless habitat management by farmers and landowners in the area, supported by advice and hands-on conservation work by RSPB NI.

A phenomenal 69 fledged curlew chicks were recorded in Glenwherry this season, building on last year's 28 chicks, which was itself a record. A further 11 chicks, at least, fledged from RSPB NI’s Lower Lough Erne Reserve. So, in total, at least 80 curlew chicks in Northern Ireland were helped by conservation practices being carried out by farmers, landowners, and the charity on working farmland. These results mark a huge environmental success when you consider that it's estimated that there are less than 200 pairs of this iconic species left in Northern Ireland. Increasing and maintaining breeding success is vital to the restoration of the curlew population to a healthy state.

The secret to this amazing conservation success is down to the partnership between the charity and the local farmers. This partnership has been at the core of ensuring the right habitat management was put in place to bring about these impressive results. Since the 1990’s, RSPB NI has been advising and supporting farmers in Glenwherry to take steps to restore and protect these iconic species on their land, ensuring that land managers have the right advice and support to farm in nature friendly ways.

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Posted On: 10/02/2023

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