New analysis from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has offered clues as to easy methods to preserve one in every of our best-loved however declining species – the Curlew. With their distinctive lengthy, downturned beaks and evocative cry, Curlews have impressed many writers, poets and artists, however sadly these well-loved birds have gotten more durable to search out. Curlew numbers within the UK fell by 48% between 1995 and 2018, and this species is classed globally as Near Threatened. The UK holds between a fifth and 1 / 4 of the worldwide Curlew inhabitants, that means that any efficient technique of combatting this species’ decline may make an actual distinction on a worldwide scale.
This new examine by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), revealed within the journal Biological Conservation, used information from 15,000 Curlew fitted with particular person leg rings by volunteers participating within the British and Irish Bird Ringing Scheme. The outcomes of the examine present that Curlew declines are being pushed by poor breeding success. Curlew pairs breed yearly and usually lay 4 eggs in every clutch. The outcomes of the examine counsel that, on common, Curlew pairs solely efficiently elevate 0.25 chicks per breeding try. If we’re to stabilise and reverse Curlew declines, then this quantity would should be elevated to 0.43 chicks per breeding try. Once younger Curlews get previous the weak chick stage, the analysis discovered that the survival charges of grownup birds are excessive.
Curlew, copyright Glyn Sellors, from the surfbirds galleries
Lead writer of the examine, Dr Aonghais Cook, stated, “Our examine reveals that Curlews have excessive annual survival charges, so the decline that we’ve got seen of their populations may have been pushed predominantly by components affecting breeding success fairly than grownup survival. If we need to reverse these declines then we have to focus our conservation efforts on bettering breeding success.”
Breeding Curlew are more likely to profit from the wader-friendly administration of land, together with restoration of moist options inside fields and delays in reducing vegetation. The use of fencing to stop predators from accessing nests is one other method that may assist. Other tried and examined interventions to enhance Curlew breeding success embody headstarting, the place eggs are taken from weak nests and the chicks raised in protected enclosures till they’re prepared for launch.
The examine additionally highlighted the function of chilly climate and habitat availability on survival throughout the winter. Dr Cook added, “As migratory species, Curlews face a variety of pressures over the course of a yr. Whilst bettering breeding success is vital to reversing declines, we should make sure the habitat they use outdoors the breeding season is protected as effectively, in any other case these efforts are more likely to be inadequate.”
With centered conservation efforts to focus on Curlew breeding success, maybe the Curlew’s cry can develop into broadly heard and appreciated as soon as extra and for generations to come back.
Read the examine at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320721002500?dgcid=writer