The Curlew Call Project
Curlew in Crisis
To many, the cry of the Curlew is the sound of the wild. Sadly it is now increasingly rare with the UK having lost almost half its breeding Curlew in just a few decades.
Within Wiltshire breeding Curlew numbers have crashed by up to 80% in 50 years. Across the county, areas that once rang with the Curlew’s call are now silent. The remaining handful of pairs are restricted to Salisbury Plain and the Braydon Forest. The situation is dire, but all hope is not lost.
The Curlew Call project was established in 2019 with the aim of protect Curlew in the Braydon Forest and north Wiltshire.
Curlew Call works closely with landowners to locate, monitor and protect the remaining Curlew as well as ensuring a long-term future for the species by addressing the causes of the decline.
A detailed overview of the project can be found in our storymap (see the link to the right).
The Project Areas
The Braydon Forest
Lying between Swindon and Malmesbury; the Braydon Forest is an area characterised by a mosaic of woodlands and dairy farming. Historically the open fields were a stronghold for Curlew in the county.
A full survey in 1994 located 23 breeding pairs across the area, we repeated this work in 2019 and located just 5 pairs; a catastrophic 78% decline. Nest monitoring revealed that there was no successful breeding. Sadly in 2020 much of the work was halted due to Covid-19.
WSBRC is working with landowners to monitor and protect Curlew nests. We are also undertaking work to understand how Curlew use the habitat in the wider Braydon Forest and which areas are important to them.
Outside of the Braydon Forest a few pairs of Curlew may cling on. Casual observations suggest a small number of locations may hold previously overlooked breeding Curlew.
In 2021 the project is expanding to cover these areas. It is critical that we monitor all nesting attempts. When the population is a small as it is in Wiltshire locating every pair is vital.
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 from these areas.
We are currently looking at how best to undertake such work with Covid-19 restrictions. More details of this will be available shortly.