Shropshire Ornithological Society Appeal in support of the Save our Curlews Campaign

The recently published Birds of Shropshire estimated that the Curlew population has declined by 77% between 1990 and 2010, down to only around 160 pairs, and it has continued to decline since. It has disappeared from 62% of the area it occupied in 1990. There is a real danger that it will become extinct in the County, unless urgent and effective action is taken to save it.

Since November 2017, Shropshire Ornithological Society (SOS) has jointly appealed with Shropshire Wildlife Trust (SWT) to support a Save our Curlews Campaign for the monitoring and conservation of Curlew populations across the County but SWT withdrew at the end of 2019.  SOS will continue to co-ordinate this project and, through Shropshire Ornithological Society 2005 (SOS 2005), the not-for-profit limited company created to handle SOS’s financial and property affairs, will provide funding for the next three years, promote an Appeal to the SOS Community Wildlife Group (CWG) members and the general public, and host banking facilities for the Campaign. It will also support grant applications and other funding requests made on behalf of the Campaign which will continue to undertake nest finding, protecting nests with electric fencing, and radio-tagging and tracking chicks to find out how they use the landscape, and what happens to them. Understanding the reasons for low levels of chick survival is the key to an effective conservation plan.

Co-ordination of Campaign work will include working co-operatively with ten independent CWGs from across the County, over 300 people who are monitoring about three-quarters of the County Curlew population.

In 2020 it is intended to carry on project work with CWGs in the Upper Clun and Clee Hill areas and start work in the Strettons area. This vital conservation work will spread in to other CWG areas in future years. The results are sent to the South of England Curlew Forum, and the national Curlew Species Recovery Group, so the work is an integral part of the case to Government for effective Curlew conservation measures.You can read more about what has been done since 2018, and future plans, on the SOS website

Donations to the Appeal are vital, both to help pay for the work, and because they demonstrate to potential funders the commitment of local people to saving Shropshire’s Curlews. You can donate by sending a cheque, a bank standing order, an internet banking or a bank transfer payment (see details overleaf). Please note that it is essential that whilst donations should be made out to Shropshire Ornithological Society (SOS) they should be clearly marked “Curlew Appeal”. If you are a UK taxpayer, you can increase the value of your donation by 25% if you sign and send in the Gift Aid certificate (also overleaf), so please do so.

If, like us, you think that Shropshire will be a much poorer place without Curlews, please support the Appeal.

For further information, please contact Leo Smith, SOS Curlew Campaign Co-ordinator, or 01694 720296.