Blogger: Erica Howe, Communications Officer

What is it that makes you proud to live in the UK? Is it the football team you support, the heritage, the fish and chips, the landscape? There are many reasons to feel proud of the country we live in and as a nation we’re blimmin good at celebrating.  Talking of which, I was invited to a Eurovision party on Saturday evening! It was a first for me and although I’ve never really paid a huge amount of attention to the annual competition of cheesy pop songs from all over Europe, it was genuinely good fun. It involved a lot of giggling at the entries, eating pizza, drinking the odd glass of wine and flying the metaphorical flag for the UK, luckily we did get more than nil point – en francais!

It is one thing that as a nation, we exceed in; celebrating the things that make us ‘Great’ Britain. And working for the RSPB means I hear about many of these first hand.

There are a team of RSPB staff, volunteers and farmers who come together every year to make sure that one, very special creature has a future.  The stone curlew isn’t a well-known bird, but should certainly be held up as a symbol of success. There are a little over 300 stone curlews in the whole country and the majority of those live right in the heart of the Brecks; a dry, unique landscape with habitat that suits these birds down to the ground, but they do need a bit of a helping hand. For a few months every year, the birds nest on bare open ground and become vulnerable to disturbance. So, the team works with farmers to locate nest sites so that they can be avoided while farm operations take place. A stone-curlew’s natural reaction to danger is to sit still, which isn’t a good strategy when a large farm tractor is heading in its direction!

With the help of this dedicated team, the population of this bird is once again on the up. Something that we should certainly raise a glass to. And, in true underdog style they’re rather quirky looking creatures. With big goggly eyes and knobbly yellow legs, they definitely have character. The chicks resemble something similar to a pair of comfy, fluffy slippers and you can’t help but fall in love with them. Something that Engelbert Humperdink would surely welcome.

So, whilst sitting on the sofa with my glass of bubbly, enjoying the guilty pleasure of the  Eurovision and our poor result, I was pondering about the fantastic conservation success that is the stone curlew and beaming with pride that it is right on my doorstep. That deserves 12 points if you ask me.

Anonymous