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Curlew Conservation Programme

Natura 2000 Award finalist - Conservation category - 2022 edition

Curlew conservation project


“What an unearthly aria that call was. Sometimes I would think, it isn’t a call at all. But if it isn’t, what is it? Is it a spontaneity of eternity that has somehow come through into time? Hearing his voice, a god who had made the curlew would almost instantly want to remake himself as the thing he had made. Universes he couldn’t call into being with a human voice he could call into being with the voice of a curlew. ”What the Curlew Said – Nostos Continued. 

The Curlew has inspired more art, song and poetry in Ireland’s literary heritage than any other part of our natural heritage. The Curlew is truly an iconic species that transcends art and science and appeals to all. Unfortunately, the possibility of the Curlew becoming extinct is one of the greatest conservation concerns in Ireland.

The Curlew Conservation Programme (CCP) was introduced by National Parks & Wildlife Service in 2017 and involves a wide range of actors working together to help the Curlew. The CCP involves habitat enhancement, research, nest protection, public engagement and more. A locally-led approach is taken, with locally-based teams adapting techniques, efforts and priorities to local requirements. Communities, landowners and other groups are very much part of the project, not apart from it. Year-on-year the productivity of Curlew breeding in the CCP areas has increased and in 2019 reached an average of 0.8 fledglings per pair, greater than the amount estimated to grow a population.

The haunting call of the Curlew has kept us as individuals, and as a nation, company for generations. Its bubbling call has thrilled us in summer meadows and has comforted us on winter shores. We will do everything in our power to ensure this special part of Ireland remains part of Ireland.