World Curlew Day
Thank you for making World Curlew Day a great success
Visit our Art For Sale page to see beautiful art work for sale
Sponsor Mary and others on the Curlew Kilt Walk
See the winners of our art and poetry competition, and hear the winning poems, read by Brian Briggs and David Gray
Get a hold of Curlew Moon to learn more about the wonderful Curlew
Learn about the eight species of Curlew
See some beautiful photographs of the magnificent Curlew
Order Curlew Clothing to support our work and to look the part!
Buy some lovely Notecards and Postcards
Read A Story for WCD
Saint Beuno’s Final Miracle
The 21st of April marks two days of historical significance: World Curlew Day, and the Feast Day of St. Beuno in the traditional Welsh calendar.
But that’s not all that links these two: although Beuno, who lived in 7th-century North Wales, is better known for spreading Christianity in Wales and raising people from the dead, legend has it he also performed a miracle on behalf of the curlew.
As the story goes, St. Beuno was crossing the Menai Strait in a coracle from his home on the mainland, on his way to lead a service on the nearby island of Anglesey, when he dropped his book of sermons in the water. This was a disaster for Beuno, who wouldn’t have been able to deliver his sermon to the waiting congregation, if it weren’t for a passing curlew whose kindness saved the day. When Beuno reached the end of his crossing, he found that the curlew had rescued his book from the sea, and flown it over to dry out ready for his service.
St. Beuno was so thrilled by the curlew’s deed that he prayed to God for the curlew’s protection. From that day forward, curlews would be invisible to all but the keenest eye, and give off virtually no scent, allowing them to nest in the long grass, where a fox might pass within a whisker of the chicks and never spot them. Some conservationists joke that even now, over a thousand years after his death, it is Beuno’s blessing which has made it so difficult for fieldworkers to find Curlew nests.
Back in the present day, reports are coming in from Wales (where it is estimated there could be fewer than 400 breeding curlew pairs left) of a few birds who might still be benefitting from Beuno’s protection. We have just heard that right next door to St. Beuno’s Church, founded by the saint in the village of Bettws Cedewain near to his supposed birthplace, there are at least two pairs of curlew breeding regularly, and potentially many more. In time for their shared day of remembrance, it’s nice to think that St. Beuno might have one more miracle up his sleeve for the curlew.
Curlews - the birds we champion on this day...
There are eight species of curlew worldwide and two are assumed extinct. The Eskimo and the Slender-Billed have not been seen for decades. Out of the remaining six species, three - the Eurasian, the Bristle-thighed and the Far Eastern - are at risk of extinction according to the IUCN Red list of Threatened Species. It is no exaggeration to say that many parts of the earth will lose curlews over the next few decades.
Curlews are iconic birds of wild, wet, evocative places – estuaries, mountain slopes, moorland, meadowland and coast. They have inspired poets, artists, musicians and writers for generations. They have given us so much, yet we are allowing them to slip away as we change their habitats and fail to protect them from predation, disturbance and in some places, hunting.
April 21 is designated as World Curlew day. It is a grass-roots initiative, supported by major environmental organisations, to raise awareness of the plight of curlews and to encourage activities to help them.
In a normal world we'd suggest things like the following: hold a talk, organise a curlew walk, have a curlew coffee morning, hold a curlew-themed art show, hold a curlew-themed poetry evening, have a Curlew Day at a local school, hold a ‘curlew conversation’ and record people’s memories of when curlew were common…
But these are still not normal times, alas... SO - in the spirit of only the gradual opening up of the country and the countryside:
Join one of the online seminars introduced at the top of the page, listen to the fabulous podcast you'll also find there, explore this website, draw a curlew picture, create a curlew song or dance, write a curlew poem, hold a 'curlew conversation' over video chat and record people's memories of when curlews were common, do some remote birdwatching by looking at bird reserve webcams online (try these ones from the Wildlife Trusts to get started: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/webcams), and brush up on your bird identification skills in preparation for when you can get back out again; or challenge yourself with this test (easy sign-up and login required) -https://quiz.natureid.no/bird/quiz/
Any monies raised can go towards local or national curlew projects or can be donated to Curlew Action here.
Thank you for supporting World Curlew Day.
We had a very succesful World Curlew Day in 2020 - thank you to everyne who took part in any way.
What we did to mark the day in 2020...
our new Podcasts section
our Art for Sale section
our Curlew Quiz
all the species of Curlew around the world
And there's always time to make a donation to support or work with Curlews