Home   News   Article

Stone-curlew project looks to have secured their future in the Brecks




Stone curlew adult near nest and eggs, Breckland, Norfolk.'Picture: Chris Gomersall RSPB
Stone curlew adult near nest and eggs, Breckland, Norfolk.'Picture: Chris Gomersall RSPB

Stone-curlews could have a sustainable population within five years, conservationists believe, partly thanks to Brecks farmers.

A four-year £1.3 million EU-funded collaboration between farmers, RSPB and Natural England ended today with 144 more chicks fledging last year than when it began.

Feltwell farmer John Secker manages part of his land to help stone-curlews'Photo by Andrew Holland (RSPB)
Feltwell farmer John Secker manages part of his land to help stone-curlews'Photo by Andrew Holland (RSPB)

Stone-curlews are crow-sized birds with large, yellow eyes which help them see at night, when they are most active.

Once widespread across farmland and heathland, numbers crashed by 85 per cent between the 1930s and 1980s due to habitat loss and changes in farming methods and there are only about 380 nesting pairs now.

Most of the breeding population is in small areas in the Brecks and Salisbury Plain with a small but growing number breeding on the Suffolk coast.

Stone-curlews are masters of camouflage and nest on the ground which puts them at risk from farm machinery.

Feltwell farmer John Secker goes the extra mile as an expert nest finder and holder of a British Trust for Ornithology licence for ringing birds. He monitors nests for the RSPB.

He said: “As a keen birdwatcher, I’ve always enjoyed seeing stone-curlews on the farm, and I’m pleased that the farm can provide habitat for farmland birds and other wildlife through the Higher Level Stewardship scheme. The RSPB helped with planning and setting up the scheme, and provides ongoing support with its management.

“We’ve had up to four pairs of stone-curlews nesting on the farm, and we have two stone-curlew nest plots. Both sites have attracted nests, and they’ve proved good for other species – this year, we’ve had 25 turtle doves feeding on one of the plots.”

Martin Harper, RSPB director of conservation, says: “The legacy of this project is a healthy population of stone-curlews, which we hope will become sustainable within five years if enough habitat is created.

“We trust that communities, landowners and managers, volunteers, and government organisations will continue to protect this special species.”



COMMENTS
()


Iliffe Media does not moderate comments. Please click here for our house rules.

People who post abusive comments about other users or those featured in articles will be banned.

Thank you. Your comment has been received and will appear on the site shortly.

 

Terms of Comments

We do not actively moderate, monitor or edit contributions to the reader comments but we may intervene and take such action as we think necessary, please click here for our house rules.

If you have any concerns over the contents on our site, please either register those concerns using the report abuse button, contact us here.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More