A recent document written by the BTO suggests that Curlew is in step decline from its main habitat – uplands!
Now I may be grandfather to most of the folk that wrote this document but at least I saw Curlew in its main habitat lowland farms. Like the Corncrake Curlew is no longer found on this form of habitat but this paper does not mention this decline which in most cases is 100%. As a kid Curlew were common on the Vale of York where most fields had them. Even before silage came a calling fields were being changed from grassland to arable. The once ‘Ings of Yorkshire’ were being destroyed to grow grain.
Then came silage. This finished off the Curlew like nothing else. This was due to the time needed by the Curlew to raise their family. May be in the beginning there was only one crop of silage but by 2015 some farmers were getting 5 cuts off one field. Nothing can survive in these fields which make them mono culture to grass and nothing else. Sure after cutting birds will descend on them to feed on the dead and dying along with the worms brought to the surface by the slurry poured onto the ground giving off mass methane causing ‘global warming’.
So why has this report not mentioned this Curlew lost to science? Had they not seen the paper written by the RSPB from Shetland showing waders producing far more young when breeding next to green patches placed into moorland than waders breeding on pure moorland. Is it because the money they received to do the work was from some body who was keen to see the uplands kept as they are today – yet another monoculture destroyed for mainly one species of bird – Red Grouse!
So where does this leave the Curlew? Well it is unlikely to return to the lowlands to breed as agriculture becomes a desert to wildlife. So what can be done in the uplands? Just as I thought – kill more predators like Hen Harrier, Buzzard, Peregrine and Goshawk.