Help needed to find breeding Curlews in Gwent

Curlews will soon be back on their breeding sites in inland Gwent and your help in locating them is needed urgently!

GOS has set up a dedicated email address Curlew@gwentbirds.org.uk to which you are asked to send all records of birds seen or heard in inland Gwent this spring and summer (coastal records are not required). Before we can target conservation work we need to know where these iconic birds are.

Tragically, Curlews are in such steep decline that they could become extinct as a breeding species in Wales within the next decade. In GB as a whole, Curlews need to successfully fledge about 25,000 chicks just to maintain the population. The current success rate is only 14,500 – a dire situation.

Last year the first birds were reported at the end of February and sightings were widespread by mid-March. Curlews are very site-faithful so checking where you saw them last year is likely to be productive but please venture to new areas of suitable habitat if possible.

All sightings are helpful but if anyone is able to put in more time, monitoring a specific pair on a fairly regular basis, we’d be extremely grateful as this might help locate a nest site. One option would be for several people to share the monitoring of a single pair, watching (hidden and from a distance) for a couple of hours on a specific day (or days). This would need very careful planning to avoid disturbing the birds. Please send an email to the dedicated address if you think you could help in this way.

Please include the date, time, location (nearest town or village plus, if possible, the grid reference), the number of birds, behaviour, any vocalisation (call or bubbling song), the habitat (e.g. grassland, silage, bog, moor) and the presence of any livestock. All information, no matter how little, will be helpful.

This lovely video shows Curlew breeding behaviour in detail, explaining what the different behaviours and calls mean https://curlewcountry.org/2020/04/20/curlew-observation-training-film/ .

Please spread the word far and wide as we want records from everyone, not just GOS members.