Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) Photo: Mike Pennington

Curlew conservation action in the Bog of Allen gets green light

April 27th, 2018

Curlew conservation measures on the Bog of Allen in Co Kildare Bog have been given a boost after receiving funding from the Heritage Council.

The Curlew Conservation Action Programme run by the Irish Peatland Conservation Council (IPCC) was launched at the recent World Curlew Day event at the Bog of Allen Nature Centre.

Attendees enjoyed the rare opportunity to observe the Curlew and hear their iconic call as five curlews were recorded during the event.

According to the IPCC, the Heritage Council funding will be used to put measures in place to give these birds the best chance of successfully breeding on Lodge Bog in the Bog of Allen.

Peatlands are extremely important habitats for Curlew, with an estimated 71% of Curlew breeding on bogs and 29% breeding mainly on rushy pasture and wet grassland.

Measures include the erection of a fence to prevent livestock from disturbing nesting birds, predator control and liaising with local farmers to agree on Curlew safe farming practices during their breeding season.

Further conservation measures will include engagement with the local community and educational groups visiting the Bog of Allen Nature Centre to build awareness for Curlew conservation.

The IPCC will also undertake a field survey and classify the habitats being used by the Curlew and produce a fact sheet and video about Curlew to be published on their website.

According to the IPCC, the project is “vital” in ensuring that the best possible conditions are in place for the breeding Curlew to rear chicks in 2018.

Curlew Decline

Ireland’s breeding Curlew have seen a 97% decline since the 1980’s largely as a result of habitat loss from forestry, farmland activities and commercial peat extraction.

Predation by foxes and crows, who thrive in these modified and fragmented landscapes, make it almost impossible for Curlew to rear young chicks, the IPCC said.

Three species are on the IUCN Red-list of Threatened Species, including the Eurasian Curlew which breeds here in Ireland.

According to the IPCC, a survey undertaken in 2015-2016 recorded less than 150 pairs breeding in the Republic of Ireland.

A Curlew Task Force was set up in January 2017 made up of stakeholder groups and experts in Curlew conservation.

The Curlew Conservation Action Programme 2018 is also part-funded by the Department of Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht.

About the Author

Niall Sargent

Niall is the Editor of The Green News. He is a multimedia journalist, with an MA in Investigative Journalism from City University, London

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