The curlew, so called after its mournful ‘curl-oo’ call, is the largest wading bird found in the British Isles. Having the opportunity to watch these graceful birds darting their long bills into the mud is, however, becoming ever more scarce. Numbers have plummeted in recent years, a fact attributed to threats on their breeding grounds such as intensified agricultural processes.
Curlew Calling – An Anthology of Poetry, Nature-Writing and Images in Celebration of Curlew, edited by Karen Lloyd, has been published to raise funds for the conservation of this important species, with proceeds going to the British Trust for Ornithology curlew appeal and others.
While the scope of the collection is UK-wide, there are several island focused contributions. Celebrated Scottish nature writer Jim Crumney provides a gorgeous account of watching the birds on Orkney, and Mary Colwell, writer and BBC nature programming producer, remembers a moving encounter in Ireland. Poetry is well represented with work by regular Island Review contributor Donald S. Murray appearing alongside that of others such as Zoomorphic editor James Roberts. The collection is completed by several artworks including those shown below.