As ever, our Curlews are rather later to nest than in many other places in the country. When they start, we are always taken by storm in the race to collect and save eggs before the nests fail, usually due to predation.
This year some new faces have joined us to help with the headstarting work. The first we would like to introduce you to is Jake, who has taken one of our volunteer trainee posts.
Read more below to learn about this new member of our seasonal headstarting team, and look out for introductions to the other new team members soon!
Hello, I am Jake, one of the trainee aviculturists helping Curlew Country with the headstarting project. We are going to be candling the eggs, caring for the chicks, and making sure that everything is perfectly clean.
I found out about Curlew Country while studying biology at the University of Exeter. During my ecological field skills module, we were directed towards Curlew Cam which I was watching throughout the lockdown in my uni room. Alongside the link to Curlew Cam was a short statement by Tim Lewis which mentioned that Curlew Country had use for volunteers to assist with headstarting throughout the season. When I saw this, it was around June, so I thought I would chance it and reach out to see if they had any openings for next year, and I was fortunate enough to get the position. All that lead to me turning up in mid-April to a tiny village in the Shropshire Hills.
Almost every weekend of my childhood was spent in the woods, walking around nature reserves, and searching in the leaf litter for minibeasts. As I have grown up and progressed with my education this passion has not left me. Throughout my degree I was immensely interested in the ecological aspects of my studies, especially when it concerned the native British species that I was familiar with and grew up surrounded by.
The think that one of the saddest truths of our generation is the rapid depletion of our countryside and biodiversity. Currently Britain is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world, and, to me, that is a tragedy. With that in mind, I want to do as much as I can to help and enjoy what nature we have while I can. This is my motivation for joining Curlew Country and helping with the plight of the curlew.
Hailing from Essex, my experiences of curlew are primarily as a winter bird, feeding in the mud at low tide, the bubbling call tumbling over the frosty marshes in the morning. They also remind me of my regular holidays to Carmarthenshire and seeing the massive congregations of curlew in the estuaries there. Curlews are in rapid decline in the UK, which is a very important area for them being home to 25% of the breeding pairs globally. So, by joining Curlew Country I was starting to do my part.
I am looking forward to seeing the eggs that have started to come in hatch, and grow from tiny, fluffy chicks, to fully fledged independent curlew. I am also hoping to explore the local area, as I have never been to Shropshire, and there are a great many birds, plants and critters that are very unlike any that I have back home.
Until next time,