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Minister Humphreys encourages members of the public to report sightings of the Curlew as part of conservation project  

20170525 Curlew chick (T Cross)

A Curlew chick

The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, is encouraging members of the public to report sightings of the Curlew to the National Parks and Wildlife Service if they see the rare bird in their local area this summer, as part of an important conservation project. The Curlew is one of Ireland’s most threatened birds and the Agri-Ecology Unit of the NPWS of the Department is pioneering efforts at protecting them through the Curlew Conservation Programme.

Speaking  today Minister Heather Humphreys TD, said:

“The Curlew is an iconic bird in rural Ireland. Many people who grew up in the countryside will remember hearing the cry of the Curlew during summertime, whether in the fields or in the bogs. I am very committed to my Department’s Curlew Conservation Programme, through which my officials are engaging in a positive way with landowners to help the Curlew remain a sight and a sound in the Irish summer. As part of this work I would encourage members of the public to get in touch with the NPWS if you see any Curlews in your local area this summer.”

Lead on the project, Dr. Barry O’Donoghue, explained that the programme is comprised of two main elements; “doing, and learning by doing.”

“We have employed a team of 6 fieldworkers for the summer, who are operating across Roscommon and Leitrim, to help find breeding Curlew and to work proactively with landowners to protect the birds’ nests and improve their environment. This really is a partnership approach between NPWS and local landowners, who are the most important people in managing the habitats of the last remaining Curlew.”

“Given this is a pioneering project in Ireland, we are also supporting a research PhD, to effectively record and analyse the result of the works that are done on the ground and to inform wider roll-out in future.”

The Curlew Conservation Programme is focussing as a pilot on six of the most important areas in Ireland for breeding Curlew, including the Stack’s Mountains in Kerry, Lough Ree, North Roscommon and Leitrim, Monaghan, Donegal and Lough Corrib. In each of these areas, local teams are surveying for Curlew, engaging in nest protection efforts and liaising with landowners. Funding is available for landowners to engage in efforts on the programme, including habitat improvement works. The key goals for all involved, are to give the Curlews a better chance of rearing chicks and to stop the loss of one of Ireland’s most iconic wildlife species, which has otherwise been sliding quickly towards extinction.

Minister Humphreys is encouraging landowners and members of the public to get in touch with the Agri-Ecology Unit of NPWS, on 01-8883255, if they would like to let the project know of any Curlew sightings during the summer or if they would like to get involved with the project or engage in habitat improvement works.