To mark World Curlew Day which fell on Wednesday of this week (April 21 ), the National Parks and Wildlife Service, which runs the Curlew Conservation Project, presented the local Curlew Action Group in Cong with a specially commissioned Curlew sculpture. The work by artist Richard Farren, was unveiled earlier this week by the group, alongside Cong Tidy Towns, in the historical grounds of Cong Abbey.
A spokesperson for the group said: "The purpose of the event was to highlight the drastic decline of our breeding Curlew population in Ireland.
"The loss of this iconic bird represents a loss of part of our heritage. Curlew have for generations accompanied Irish people across the countryside as they worked in hayfields and bogs and were part of tradition.
"The decline in recent years is estimated at 96 per cent. It is predicted that breeding Curlew will go extinct within a short few years if action is not taken. Less than 150 pairs now breed in Ireland."
In 2017 a Curlew Conservation programme was established in an effort to reverse the decline. This programme works with landowners and communities at nine locations across the country.
One of those locations is the northern part of lough Corrib. This area is now one of a few areas in the country where Curlew can be seen and heard. At this time, the birds have arrived back to Lough Corrib to hopefully, successfully breed.
To help the conservation programme, the local Curlew Action Group is asking the public to report any sightings or calls of Curlew in their areas over the next few weeks. You can phone on (083 ) 8301843 or email at [email protected].