21 April 2022
Contribute to shorebird conservation with a new storybook
World Curlew Day was initiated by author Mary Colwell in 2017 and is celebrated annually on 21 April to raise awareness of these beautiful migratory waders and their plight. Today, Australian author Peter Lindenmayer has released a new book that highlights the threats faced by the eastern curlew on our shores. What better day to buy it and help save our shorebirds?
Mary Colwell’s main concern was the conservation of the Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) in the United Kingdom, but here in Australia, both local and global factors affect the survival of the eastern curlew (Numenius madagascariensis) – the world’s largest migratory shorebird, which is listed as critically endangered nationally under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The eastern curlew stalks mudflats and sandbars, probing for small crabs and molluscs with its long, downcurved bill. At night, its distinctive ‘curleeeeee’ call rings out over the water. Sometimes also known as the ‘far eastern curlew’, this wader has declined dramatically in the face of human reclamation of lands around waterways, wetlands, and mudflats along its East Asian–Australasian Flyway.
The IUCN estimates that eastern curlew populations in Australia and New Zealand have plummeted by some 81 per cent over 3 generations! Since around 75 per cent of these curlews overwinter here, Australia must shoulder the responsibility of preserving the coastal wetlands and mudflats that these birds rely upon to gather enough food to make their incredible long-distance journey back to the Northern Hemisphere to breed – a round-trip of some 24,000 km.
However, even despite the serious predicament these birds face, unsustainable developments that would further impact vital Ramsar wetlands that these birds visit, such as the proposed construction at Toondah Harbour in Cleveland on Brisbane’s Bayside, are still being greenlighted by governments!
Encouraging children to understand the extraordinary life history of curlew species in order to help protect eastern curlews and help push back against developments that further marginalise migratory shorebirds is necessary to save them.
Gift a book and help shorebirds thrive
That’s why, this World Curlew Day, we’re asking you to consider supporting curlew conservation by making a gift of author Peter Lindenmayer’s brand-new book Malishka: A Curlew Comes Back to Our Coast from our shop.
At just $25 including postage and handling, this heart-warming story written in verse relays an important message about protecting our feathered friends and our environment more generally and includes information and tips for adults about eastern curlew conservation.
Profits from the sale of the book will be donated to groups that aid shorebird conservation, such as the Queensland Wader Study Group.
If you’d prefer an in-depth discovery of these remarkable birds written for adults, Harry Sadler’s book The Eastern Curlew: The Extraordinary Life of a Migratory Bird explores this incredible long-distance flier in great detail.
Whether you buy a book to help educate kids, pop down to your local wetlands or seaside bird hide with binoculars to look for these waders, or donate a dollar or two to shorebird conservation on World Curlew Day, we hope these migratory waders prevail to poke their bills into our wetlands for many generations to come.
Buy Malishka: A Curlew Comes Back to Our Coast today as limited copies are available.
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