Photo credit: John Fox 

In this podcast Geoff Hilton, Head of Conservation Evidence at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Slimbridge, gives a personal and emotional interview on why he is so passionate about saving the Curlews of Britain, especially in lowland and southern Britain.

Professor Ian Newton is a renowned ecologist. In this programme we talk about the enormous changes the British landscape has undergone since the beginning of the 20th Century and how that has affected ground-nesting birds like Curlew.

Irish Curlew Crisis

With Mary Colwell

Parks and Wildlife Service in Ireland. He has a tough job as recent surveys show a 97% decline in the last 40 years. There are now fewer than 150 pairs left.










Galloway curlews


With Mary Colwell

Farmer, author and conservationist, Patrick Laurie was born in Galloway and now farms there. Over the last 40 years this hidden-away part of Scotland has lost 80% of its curlews. Patrick gives an impassioned plea for us to love and protect places like Galloway and the wildlife that once thrived there.





Urban Curlews


With Mary Colwell

Street artist, ATM (otherwise known as Mark Anthony) was commissioned to paint an emblem of an endangered species in Tower Hamlets in London - on a railway arch. The result is a stunning work that brings the wild into the very heart of the city. In this short interview he explains why he chose curlews and what they mean to him. Please excuse the poor quality of sound, it was recorded remotely.


Far Eastern Curlews

With Mary Colwell

The Far Eastern Curlew is a phenomenal bird. The bill of the female can be 20 cm long. It spends the winter in Australasia and breeds in the north of China and Russia, and there are threats all the along the flyway. It is now critically endangered. Amanda Lilleyman is a researcher at the Charles Darwin University in Darwin, Australia, and is part of a team working to save them from extinction. Sound recording - Albert Lastukhin, Xeno-Canto Photo @LucasBrook

The Slender-billed Curlew

With Mary Colwell

The Slender-billed Curlew may now be a ghost in the landscape. Perhaps a few hang on - but they have not been seen for years. In this podcast, Mary Colwell talks to Horatio Clare, a writer who went in search of this tragic bird of the wild.






Photographing the Slender-billed Curlew

With Mary Colwell

The bird illustrating the podcast is of a Slender-billed Curlew. It is only one of a handful of photos known to exist. Shortly after Richard Porter took this,  the Slender-billed disappeared and is feared extinct. Richard told me about his poignant encounter.




The Eastern Curlew

Curlew Action CEO Mary Colwell interviews Harry Saddler, author of Eastern Curlew (Hachette UK, 31 Jul 2018). This large wader is highly endangered. It migrates from Australia to the sub arctic each year, but habitat loss and some hunting has reduced its population by 80% in the last 30 years.

Eskimo Curlew Sighting

With Mary Colwell

The Eskimo Curlew is considered extinct. The last confirmed sightings were in the 1960s in Texas. There are however occasional unconfirmed reports. I talked to David Blankinship who believes he and a colleague saw a group of 23 on a remote island off the coast of Texas in 1981. Music by Reg1n0ld on Freesound, reading performed by Martin White and the image is from a specimen in Laval University in Canada.

The Last of the Curlews

With Mary Colwell

Mary Colwell in conversation with Donald Worster and Ursula Heise about the 1954 book 'The Last of the Curlews' by Fred Bodsworth.

Long-billed Curlew Crisis in Idaho

With Mary Colwell

The bird illustrating the podcast is of a Slender-billed Curlew. It is only one of a handful of photos known to exist. Shortly after Richard Porter took this,  the Slender-billed disappeared and is feared extinct. Richard told me about his poignant encounter.

American Whimbrels

Brad Winn, a senior scientist with Manomet Centre for Conservation Sciences,takes us through the life and times of the whimbrel as it migrates across America. Shooting and habitat loss are big issues it faces every year. Thank you Andrew Johnson from the Cornell Lab for Ornithology for the calls.

Bristle-thighed Curlew

With Mary Colwell

Bristle-thighed curlews are a mysterious, magical Curlew that breeds in remote parts of Alaska and then flies to the coral atolls in the middle of the Pacific. Their call is a delightful, wobbly fluting sound. Here is Lee Tibbitts, Wildlife Biologist with USGS, Alaska Science Centre in Anchorage, Alaska
Calls courtesy of Xeno-Canto. Photo by Otto Plantema

Podcasts featuring Curlew action

If you would like to feature someone from Curlew Action on your podcast, to discuss Curlews or the Natural History GCSE, please use the contact form to get in touch.

If you would like to feature someone from Curlew Action on your podcast, to discuss Curlews or the Natural History GCSE, please use the contact form to get in touch.

Cerys Matthews show - BBC Radio 6

For World Curlew Day 2024, musician and Curlew Action patron David Gray and environmentalist and Curlew Action's founder and director Mary Colwell join Cerys Matthews to discuss the challenges that face the Curlew, Europe's largest wading bird. Available on BBC Sounds until mid-May.

Meet the Farmers

Host Ben Eagle speaks to Curlew Action ambassador Leigh Weston, who has an upland farm in Malham in the Yorkshire Dales with her partner Neil Heseltine.


Philippa Forrester interviews Mary Colwell about helping to save the iconic curlew, and also fighting for and succeeding in the introduction of a new Natural History GCSE.

Bird Nerd Book Club

Curlew Action Founder and Director Mary Colwell joins Hannah Buschert, of Hannah and Erik Go Birding, to discuss her Curlew Moon book, the people she met along her walk, and the decline of Eurasian Curlews in the UK and Ireland on the Bird Nerd Book Club podcast. “I was expecting to see far more than I did... It was a big wake-up call. I should've seen hundreds, I saw tens.”

Reasons to be Cheerful

In this episode of the Reasons to be Cheerful podcast, hosted by Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd, from the Live at the RSC Festival, Mary Colwell features on the panel to discuss the current state of climate education, and the Natural History GCSE. The other panellists are Scarlett Westbrook, climate activist and writer of the Climate Education Bill; and Elena Lengthorn, Senior Lecturer of Teacher Education at Worcester University.

The Plodcast

The BBC Countryfile Magazine podcast team meets with RSPB expert Damon Bridge and author and curlew champion Mary Colwell. Listen on as they explore spring wildlife in the fabulous RSPB reserve of Swell Wood and West Sedgemoor – in the hope of hearing the enigmatic curlew on the eve of World Curlew Day.

Later, we meet singer-songwriter and nature champion David Gray, who talks about his own curlew experiences and how wild places have influenced his new album Skellig – of which you can hear the title track in this podcast.

The Future of Education

In the sixth episode of the Future of Education podcast series, Richard Dunne talks to Mary Colwell, the award winning author, producer and campaigner for Nature, who spearheaded the establishment of the Natural History GCSE.


The Bird Emergency

In this podcast’s third episode on Curlews (with previous episodes on the Far Eastern Curlew and the West Pacific Flyway), host Grant the Bird Nerd speaks to Mary Colwell about her love for these birds and how we can conserve the species.


10 Adventures Podcast

On today’s episode, we are joined by wildlife activist and adventurer, Roger Morgan-Grenville. Chair of the trustees for Curlew Action, a charity dedicated to the conservation of Curlews, Roger briefs us on the impact of climate and urbanization on wildlife. Recently, Roger embarked on a 50-day, 1,000mile walk from Lymington to Cape Wrath to raise awareness and funds for the endangered species.


The War on Wildlife Project

Many of us with an interest in the natural world have known for years that children and young people are spending less and less time outdoors. Losing their connection with nature. A recent survey suggested that many children can’t identify common garden flowers. Half couldn’t identify arguably the UK’s most distinctive bird – the Kingfisher. A fifth of young people can’t identify a badger (despite one featuring in the badge of Harry Potter’s very own Hufflepuff House).

Scotland Outdoors

58 days and 1,000 miles. Roger Morgan-Grenville chats to Mark Stephen about his epic walk from the south of England to the North of Scotland.

Wilder Podcast - The Grange Project

In this inspirational conversation, we start off with the story of the curlew and end up discussing the importance of ‘nature literacy’. Mary’s creativity, passion and determination shine through as we hear about her historic campaign for the curlew, driving forward the natural history GCSE and her hopes for a nature pathway throughout our education system.

How To Avoid Moving To Mars - The David Hill Podcast

Mary Colwell joins David Hill to discuss her support for various conservation causes and her work to reshape the education landscape at GCSE level.

Coffee with Conservationists

George Steadman-Jones interviews Mary Colwell about the charity Curlew Action, the plight of the Curlew and the campaign for a Natural History GCSE.

Ashdown Forest

In this episode: Cats, bats and curlews. Dawn: bird ringing explained… Cats: how to reduce their impact on wildlife… Curlews, lynx, wildcats & the Natural History GCSE with author and campaigner Mary Colwell… Dusk: bat spotting on the Forest.

Explore Being Outdoors with Claire Bright

Mary Colwell discusses the importance of Natural History, and the beauty of the Curlew, with Claire Bright.

Journal of Biophilic Design

With such a depletion of wildlife in the UK alone, with so many schools, cities, towns, and housing estates being built so far removed from our natural world how on earth does the next generation stand a chance to learn about the natural world and be sympathetic to it? Our Director, Mary Colwell spoke about the Natural History GCSE on the Journal of Biophilic design podcast.


The hosts of the Sustainababble podcast natter to “conservation goddess” Mary Colwell about how on earth she got the Natural History GCSE campaign over the line - featuring Bond-style train chases, among other things - as well as the spell-binding power of the natural world, and why she's “cur-razy” about curlews.

The War on Wildlife Project

In 2016 naturalist and broadcaster Mary Colwell walked 500 miles across Ireland, northern Wales, and England to raise awareness of how the once common Common Curlew Numenius arquata was disappearing from the countryside. As she wrote at the time, ” I undertook this walk alone and unpaid. I am passionate about saving these birds.”

Restore Our Planet

In the fourth episode of the Restore Our Planet podcast, host Jack Cole interviews Mary Colwell about the plight of the Curlew, degradation of British wetland habitats and countryside, whether our problems are deeper than we think, whether Greta Thunberg is the second coming, and much more!

Conservation Sound

“I started getting emails at the day job about World Curlew Day. It had a lovely logo. Curlews have such a distinctive call, the potential for a podcast rose gradually across the office Outlook screen. The emails came from Mary Colwell, and her website revealed her to be a very experienced broadcaster. Podcast tip: interview a radio producer, they know what makes a good interviewee!”

Sean's Wild Life

Mary Colwell is a woman on a mission: to save one of our most iconic native wading birds from extinction, the Curlew. A bird of wild, windswept landscapes, its evocative call and willowy appearance has inspired poetry, music and wonder in many.

Here, Mary and Sean McCormack chat about what can be done to save the Curlew, and the difficult conversations that need to be had with various stakeholders when it comes to practical nature conservation.

The Curlew on BBC Radio 4's Tweet of the Day

Tweet of the Day graphic from BBC Radio 4, featuring a singing robin

As an iconic bird with a distinctive call, the Curlew has appeared on BBC Radio 4's popular Tweet of the Day programme six times to date, lauded by notable conservationists, presenters and authors such as Kate Humble, Amy Liptrot and Martin Hughes-Games. Listen to the episodes via the links below, plus the additional 'Tweet Take 5' episode.

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