Pinch! The odds don't look great for this little shore crab, suffice to say – I think we know how this story ends. But what of the bigger story? Well… you might be surprised to learn that in terms of 'species survival rates' the odds would be stacked in the crab’s favour, as curlew numbers have declined dramatically in the last few decades. Find out how you can help this iconic species (and how to knit your own curlew hat!) in this week’s blog… (photo courtesy of Nature's Home reader Holly Kirk).
On finding this photo in the Nature's Home inbox, I was immediately transported back to the more wildlife abundant years of my life. The rising, bubbling trill of the curlew has always been music to my ears, in my opinion - it is one of the most evocative cries in the animal kingdom and I love every nostalgic note of it!
On hearing the unmistakable call of the curlew; I’m a young girl again, on a voyage of discovery - the world is big and full of wonder! There’s magic in the meadows and buzzing in the trees – what’s that bird? And, who made that hole?
For me, this is powerful stuff! I realise now that I’m older, I was one of the last generations fortunate enough to enjoy these summers of plenty. Anything that can rouse such comforting memories from a time forgot is worth its weight in gold. The call of the curlew needs protecting so that future generations are given the opportunity to recall their own adventures in the bounty of nature, and so do the habitats and ecosystems that go with it.
Sadly, it’s been two summers since I last heard that trill overhead. They came but they didn’t stay. The small patch of rough grassland which had been their successful breeding grounds for generations, had reduced in size year on year, until finally it succumbed to the demands of intensive farming and just like that - they were gone. A theme only too common these days – a theme, that ultimately – we’re all responsible for.
Luckily, it’s not too late. We can reverse these trends by restoring habitats that are vital for species like the curlew to recover – it really is that simple. If, like me, you’ve seen the declines in your lifetime and feel moved enough to act – there’s plenty of ways you can help to ensure that the beauty of bird song is enjoyed by all for many generations to come.
For more information on how you can help the plight of the curlew either by making a donation, eating chocolate (yes, you read that correctly!) or knitting a curlew hat (pictured) - visit the 'How you can help curlews' pages on our website. For news on curlew conservation click here, and for behavioural and ID info, see our Bird A-Z.
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654