Northern Ireland news

Four curlew chicks fledge in Antrim Hills

Four curlew chicks have hatched in the Antrim hills. Picture from RSPB
Digital Staff

FOUR curlew chicks have successfully fledged in Co Antrim.

The chicks hatched at Greenmount Hill Farm in Glenwherry on June 4 and fledged last week, the RSPB announced today.

The conservation charity said it is the first time its advisor Neal Warnock has reported a pair of curlews fledging four young. 

Chicks first fledged on the farm last year for the first time in 20 years.

A pair of curlews had attempted to breed in 2016 - the first time since 2005 - only to fail to hatch young.

But last summer two pairs arrived back at the farm and one of the pairs successfully fledged three young.

The new chicks fledged this year will boost dwindling curlew numbers.

The bird has long been synonymous with Ireland and is often mentioned in Irish literature and songs.

However, numbers have fallen sharply.

Northern Ireland has lost more than 80 per cent of the curlew population since 1987.

And numbers have almost halved across the UK over the past two decades.

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