Hear the call of the curlew

Ingram, Northumberland

It is no accident that the emblem for Northumberland National Park is the curlew; high in the hills is one of the best places to see and hear them.

English wildlife wouldn’t be the same without the humble curlew. In 1912, the natural historian George Bolam quoted: “A moor without a curlew is like a night without a moon, and he who has not eyes for the one and an ear for the other is a mere body without a soul”.

During the spring, curlews move from the coastal marshes up onto the high moorland and rough pasture, where they begin nesting and courting. They have a distinctive wide wingspan and curved bill and fly across the English countryside with a slow wing beat.

The call of the curlew – a trill followed by “keerloo” – from which the bird gets its name, is once heard, never forgotten, and is a poignant companion to a walk in the hills on a sunny day. 

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