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Summary

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 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 20 years, numbers in the UK have halved; the Eurasian curlew is one of our most endangered birds. With a quarter of the world population breeding in the UK and Ireland, 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 500 mile journey on foot from the west coast of Ireland to the east coast of England, to discover what is happening to this beautiful and much-loved bird. She sets off in early spring, when the birds are arriving on their breeding grounds, watches them nesting in the hills of Wales and walks through England when the young are hatching. She finishes her walk on the coast of Lincolnshire when the fledglings are trying out their wings. This is also the place many curlews will return to for the winter months.

This evocative book chronicles Colwell’s impressive journey, weaving a gentle tale of discovery interspersed with the natural history of this iconic bird that has fascinated us for millennia - and so desperately needs our help.

©2018 Mary Colwell (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

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A wake up call

To many country people, the Curlew call heralds spring. Mary Colwell brings us a wake up call. Curlews may soon be gone in Ireland and then the lowlands of England and Wales, and then perhaps the Northern uplands? We follow her 500 mile walk meeting a wide variety of people affected. She tells us all about the groups looking to reverse the decline, and tackles all the sensitive potential conflicts with objectivity and understanding.
This is a wonderfully informative story from someone passionate about her subject.

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