Curlew eggs rescued from airfields


Natural England have rescued Eurasian Curlew eggs from nests on airfields, with plans to raise and release the young.

The eggs are hatching at Pensthorpe Natural Park, Norfolk, and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust's reserve in Gloucestershire. Curlews reared at Slimbridge will be released on Dartmoor; the birds reared in Norfolk will be released into grassland at the Queen's Sandringham Estate and wet grassland at nearby Wild Ken Hill.

Eurasian Curlew nesting close to runways pose a risk to air safety (Mike Lane).

Ground-nesting curlews are attracted to airfields, which mimic the natural open grassland they prefer. They are also relatively safe from predators such as foxes due to the high security fences that surround them.

Curlews nesting close to runways pose a risk to air safety and before, the project eggs laid on airfields would have been destroyed under licence to avoid the risk of collisions between birds and aircraft.

This year's project continues the work of last year's pilot, which saw 79 birds reared at Pensthorpe and released in Norfolk.