There are eight species of curlew worldwide and two are assumed extinct. The Eskimo and the Slender-Billed have not been seen for decades. Out of the remaining six species, three are at risk of extinction – the Eurasian, the Bristle-thighed and the Far Eastern are all listed on the IUCN Red list of Threatened Species. It is no exaggeration to say that many parts of the earth will lose curlews over the next few decades.
Curlews are iconic birds of wild, wet, evocative places – estuaries, mountain slopes, moorland, meadowland and coast. They have inspired poets, artists, musicians and writers for generations. They have given us so much, yet we are allowing them to slip away as we change their habitats and fail to protect them from predation, disturbance and in some places, hunting.
April 21 is designated as World Curlew day. It is a grass-roots initiative, supported by major environmental organisations, to raise awareness of the plight of curlews and to encourage activities to help them. Please organise an event on April 21 and post it on Twitter: @WCDApril21 or the World Curlew Day Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WCDApril21/
Hold a talk, organise a curlew walk, have a curlew coffee morning, hold a curlew-themed art show, create a curlew song or dance, hold a curlew-themed poetry evening, draw a curlew picture, have a Curlew Day at a local school, hold a ‘curlew conversation’ and record people’s memories of when curlew were common… Any monies raised can go towards local or national curlew projects. Thank you for supporting World Curlew Day.
Protection in Place for Curlew
For a summary of issues affecting all curlew species please see: CMS COP11 – Conservation Statements for Numeniini Species (PDF).