The charity has a target to raise £10,000 by this Thursday 29 April. If it achieves this, the funding will be matched by the Dulverton Trust.
The Fordingbridge-based conservation charity is raising the money to cover the costs of tagging three red-listed birds this spring – woodcock, curlew and lapwing. The tags will provide hourly locations for three to four years, enabling scientists to determine adult feeding areas, movements outside the breeding season and links between breeding and wintering sites. Using GSM technology, they can download their locations without the need to relocate each bird.
The organisation has already been monitoring curlews in the New Forest since 2018. Using GPS tags, it is able to collate data on habitat use and movements. Surveys have shown that curlew numbers in the New Forest probably peaked in the 1980s, with around 120 pairs. It has since declined to about 45 pairs.
This year, curlew monitoring will be carried out by Elli Rivers, a PhD student with Bournemouth University. Elli will be monitoring breading success alongside tracking information. As well as providing necessary information on curlew requirements at a local level, the data will complement work at sites elsewhere in the country to help devise effective strategies for curlew conservation.
Press and publications manager at the GWCT, James Swyer, is keen to get this work underway: “With your donation, you can help us to answer the difficult questions about where our curlew, lapwing and woodcock go, and why”, he notes. “Building on our popular Woodcock Watch campaign, this new tagging project is our most ambitious yet and can answer important questions about these declining and much-loved species. We are in a unique position, using our research to directly inform what’s happening across the farms and fields of Britain. The fate of these red-listed species cannot change without a better understanding of their declines.”
To donate, please visit: https://donate.thebiggive.org.uk/campaign/a056900001oqv0IAAQ.
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