Braydon Forest Curlew Project
Curlew in Crisis
The cry of the Curlew is, to many people, an iconic sound of the countryside. However the U.K’s population of Curlew has declined significantly over the past few decades, resulting in the species being added to the U.K Red List.
Within Wiltshire breeding Curlew numbers have crashed by up to 80% over the course of 50 years with just a handful of pairs remaining. Breeding birds have disappeared from many areas of the county and can now be found only in the Cotswold Water Park, on Salisbury Plain and in the Braydon Forest. The situation is dire, but all hope is not lost.
The Braydon Forest in an ancient royal hunting park lying to the the west of Swindon. Historically this area has been a stronghold for Curlew in Wiltshire, supporting up to 90% of Wiltshire’s population. The last full survey in 1994 found 23 pairs breeding in the area.
In 2019 we repeated the 1994 survey to get an updated picture of the state of Curlew in the Braydon Forest. The work revealed a catastrophic 78% decline, with only 5 breeding pair’s remaining. Nest monitoring revealed that there was no successful breeding.
We need to act immediately to protect Curlew in the Braydon Forest. WSBRC is working actively with landowners to locate, monitor and protect Curlew nests. We are also initiating projects to help understand how Curlew use the habitat in the wider Braydon Forest and which areas are important to them.
We need your help undertaking this critical conservation project. Going forward we will need volunteers to help us monitor the known nests sites as well as follow up leads on sightings of Curlew away form these areas. More details of this will be available shortly.