BASC is using World Curlew Day this Sunday to remind members to record sightings of the iconic bird in the hope of supporting their conservation.
The UK’s largest shooting organisation is urging people to look out for the birds between now and the end of July, when they are likely to settle on nesting sites to breed.
Ian Danby, BASC’s head of biodiversity projects, said: “The curlew is a much loved, large wading bird with a long curved bill and brown plumage and, of course, that amazing collection of haunting calls.
“However, it is our most pressing bird priority species in the UK with long-term decline in both range and population; it is estimated that the UK breeding curlew population has declined by 48 per cent from the mid-1990s. As much as people love this bird, it is something they see less and less of or even not at all.
“Our success or failure to stop the declines has a substantial impact on the species at a global scale because the UK holds in excess of 26 per cent of the world’s breeding population.
“The conservation community know where curlew and many waders tend to do well and this is the moorland fringe, typically where heather meets grassland systems. However, we need to find a good set of solutions for upland areas without shooting activity other lowland locations.”
Robin Marshall-Ball, a member of BASC council and a conservation specialist, said: “Do what you can to help by providing any sightings of curlew, and consider what action you can take to protect their breeding and rearing habitat, such as sufficient predator control.”