DUBLIN, Ireland - The Irish government is getting behind efforts to prerserve the Curlew, one of Ireland’s most beloved birds.
Conservation of the Curlew has become a priority as there has seen a 97% decline in population since the 1980s, according to a recent national study into native species.
Sunday is World Curlew Day – a celebration of the species worldwide and to mark the occasion a special Curlew Day flag is being flown at County Council and school buildings in the most important areas for Curlew across Ireland, to raise awareness of the bird’s vulnerability and how people can help in the effort to save this creature and its habitat.
The Curlew Conservation Programme, led by Dr. Barry O’Donoghue of the Department’s National Parks and Wildlife Service, was set up in 2017 and has recently stepped up its efforts. A 21 member team of contractors were trained earlier this year and have now begun a programme of work throughout the country in conjunction with farmers, land-owners and communities to prevent the extinction of the Curlew.
Members of the public are asked to assist the National Parks and Wildlife Service in their efforts by being alert to the sound and sightings of the Curlew and reporting any positive observations to the organisation.
"We are in the third year of our Curlew Conservation Programme. It will now involve a significant regional effort in the field – to find and secure curlew nests, protect them from predators and monitor the outcomes," the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan said Saturday.
"It is one of Ireland’s best known and most loved birds; it is widely referenced in our rich literary heritage and Irish artists have drawn much inspiration from its very distinctive call down through the years. We must do what we can to protect it and I am heartened to hear of the support that is out there for this initative."
Dr. Barry O’Donoghue of the NPWS said "the beautiful bubbling call of the Curlew has always been a soundtrack to the Irish summer, but has sadly fallen silent across much of the countryside. To lose the Curlew would be like losing a big part of Ireland – like our music, our landscape or identity."
"We are working closely with landowners and local communities to help the last remaining Curlew rear their young", he added, " We have a dedicated and hardworking team engaged in parts of Kerry, Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Leitrim, Longford, Monaghan and Donegal and we are supporting local community projects elsewhere."