Author(s): Mary Colwell
Curlews are Britain's largest wading bird, known for their evocative calls which embody wild places; they provoke a range of emotions that many have expressed in poetry, art and music. A bird stands alone on the edge of a mudflat. Its silhouette is unmistakable. A plump body sits atop long, stilty legs. The long neck arcs into a small head, which tapers further into a long curved bill. The smooth, convex outlines of this curlew are alluring. They touch some ancestral liking we all have for shapes that are round and smooth. Over the last 22 years numbers in the UK have halved; the curlew is one of our most endangered birds. With 25 per cent of the world's curlews living in the UK, this is nothing short of a disaster. The curlew is showing all the signs of being the next Great Auk. In Curlew Moon, Mary Colwell takes us on a journey from the West coast of Ireland to the east coast of England, on her quest to help raise awareness for this beautiful bird's plight. Her 500-mile walk on foot starts in the early spring, when birds are first arriving on their breeding grounds in the west of Ireland, walking through to Wales, when they incubate their eggs. She makes her way through England to coincide with the time when the chicks are hatching, and six weeks after setting out she arrives in East Anglia as the fledglings are beginning to try out their wings. Finishing on the east coast, she marks the place where many curlews come to spend the winter. This evocative book chronicles Colwell's impressive journey, weaving a gentle tale of discovery interspersed with the natural history of this most impressive of birds that hasfascinated us for millennia - and so desperately needs our help.