Irish Curlews Crash
Between 1995-2008, Curlew has suffered a decline of 46% as a breeding bird in Wales (1). News has now emerged from Ireland of a dramatic decrease in their population of breeding Curlews over the last twenty years.
During the last Breeding Atlas, in 1988-91, the Irish population of Curlews was estimated at around 5,000 pairs. This spring, BirdWatch Ireland (2) carried out the first survey specifically to find breeding Curlew in Ireland. Over 60 sites in Donegal and Mayo that were occupied by breeding Curlews during the 1988-91 Atlas were revisited and, shockingly, the results indicated that only six still held breeding pairs. Just four pairs were recorded in Donegal and four in Mayo, indicating that there are likely to be fewer than 200 breeding pairs left in the whole country – a 96 percent decline in 20 years.
In East Glamorgan, we have 35 records of the species in the breeding season, with confirmed and probable breeding evidence reported from a few sites in the northern reaches of the region. Let’s hope that the evocative cry of the Curlew remains in our county.
- State of Birds in Wales 7, RSPB
- Catastrophic Curlew declines uncovered