Posted: Tue 25th Jun 2024

Team hatches plans to help boost under-threat species for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area

A project team is getting ready to protect little arrivals to help an under-threat bird survive.

The Clwydian Range and Dee valley National Landscapes is taking part in the project “Curlew Connections Wales”, a Curlew Recovery Wales partnership project working with Bannau Brycheiniog and GWCT.

This is under the all-Wales partnership project Gylfinir Cymru an all-Wales partnership project that aims to help breeding curlew across the country, including Denbighshire.

Curlews are under severe threat and is ‘Red Listed’ on both the Welsh and UK Birds of Conservation Concern (BoCC).

Since the 1990’s more than 80 percent of the breeding curlew population has been lost across Wales.

The decline in numbers is due to a number of reasons including habitat loss, farming pressures during nesting season and the impact of predation on the birds.

But now work is on to protect the birds across 12 areas in Wales which is funded by Welsh Government through the Heritage Lottery fund (HLF).

Local Curlew and People Officer Sam Kenyon is leading the work for the area which takes in large areas of Denbighshire, parts of Flintshire and parts of Wrexham.

Working alongside farmers and volunteers Sam and her team have located nearly 30 curlew pairs and are preparing for what will be the busiest phase of the project yet.

“The project is going really well, we are getting a lot of knowledge about our birds this season by getting to know them and the pairs better and how they behave thanks to the local knowledge we have in and around our communities,” explained Sam.

“The farmers have been amazing to work with. We’ve had such great support which has been hugely helpful to the project.

“Eleven people from eight different farms recently met the team at the Berwyn Arms and the knowledge exchange was so valuable”.

Working with the farmers, Sam and the team have carried out simple interventions to protect the Curlews and nests over the ICA (Important Curlew Area).

At the moment the team are monitoring seven nests some which have seen electric fencing surrounding each nest to help keep off predators.

Sam explained “With this being our first year, doing the interventions we have taken, we’re looking to bring up the hatching rate from say 30 percent to around 90 percent successful.”

Signs of the first possible hatchings of chicks are approaching fast and Sam and the Team are ready to move into the next stage of protecting and monitoring the birds with the help of local farmers.

“We’ll be monitoring the chicks on the ground and working closely with our farmers to keep the chicks as safe as possible,” added Sam.

“Because they’re on the ground for six weeks till fledging, all in all it’s around 10 weeks from egg laying to take off.”

The male Curlew will take care of most of the chick rearing while the females make the most of being able to feed themselves back up and regain their condition.

Sam added: “The chicks won’t really leave the electric fence area for the first couple of days, but then quite quickly they can build up to covering a few hundred metres across the ground on those little legs, meaning they can move through fences, to other fields and onto other farms, and that’s another place in the project where our network of farmers helps us to keep track of the birds”.

Emlyn Jones, Head of Planning, Public Protection and Countryside Services, said: “This is a very important project for a bird that was once a popular sight not just in Denbighshire and North Wales but across the whole of the UK.

“We are grateful that this project and funding allows the Clwydian Range and Dee valley National Landscapes to really move forward with protecting the curlews we have and encouraging the populations to survive and hopefully thrive in the future.

For further information on the project or to report any sightings or hearings of curlews in the areas listed please email [email protected]

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