Where are the Curlews?

The signs have gone up warning people to keep their dogs on short leads. Not that many will take any notice of them. The reason of course is that its the start of the ground nesting bird season. Of course the ground nesting birds have not shown up yet, no doubt sunning themselves and living it up on sea food by the coast. As the sleet snow and hail stings Β my face and the wind tugs at my scarf, I can’t blame them. Wildmoorstone is bleak, cold and windswept, a awful place to bring up the kids.

Of course in a month this will all change. The valley and the hills will be home for the summer to curlew and hopefully lapwing. There is no more beautiful sound on the moors than the cry of the curlew, and its absence during the winter, is hard to bare. But soon its call will drift on the wind across the moors and all will be well. Expect of course things aren’t. Curlew numbers have been on the decline in recent years. Numbers have been down by 45% in some areas and this is considered to a cause for concern.

But should it be? Perhaps curlew numbers are falling because they were too high to be supported by the moors on which they nest. Perhaps the lower numbers are indicate a more sustainable population. After all more does not necessarily mean better. Perhaps the measurement should be based around what is balanced and not purely on the quantity.

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