Nest Site Protection

Through the CABB project

Breeding waders have experienced significant population declines throughout Ireland in recent years. As part of the CABB project Birdwatch Ireland is working with land owners to improve conditions for breeding waders at several key sites in the borders counties.

Our work matters

The CABB project will run from January 2017 to December 2021 and aims to protect populations of breeding waders in the borders counties through working with farmers to enhance habitats for these critically endangered species.

Habitat Management Lough Melvin

In the summer of 2017, a pair of breeding Curlew was found on Inisheher Island, which is situated on Lough Melvin in Co Leitrim. The habitat on the island was not in ideal condition for Curlew, being heavily infested with scrub and rank vegetation as a result of some years of under grazing. In the winter months of 2018 and before Curlew arrived back at their breeding grounds, the necessary equipment and specialist machinery was brought in by barge and scrub was removed from across the 7.35-hectare island. The works were completed over several weeks and have resulted in greatly enhanced conditions for Curlew and other waders, opening up new areas for breeding and foraging. . With habitat conditions now more favourable on the island, it is hoped this will entice further pairs of Curlew and possibly other species of waders to breed there in the future


Predator Proof Fences

BirdWatch Ireland currently have 3 operational predator proof fences at key wader sites in Co Donegal. These fences are a physical barrier and are designed to prevent foxes and other small mammals from getting in to populations of breeding waders. They have been proven to be an effective tool in the management of breeding wader species such as Lapwing and Redshank with the breeding populations within the fence sites increasing in numbers dramatically since their construction. As part of the CABB project, BirdWatch will be erecting another predator fence in Co Donegal in the coming months.

Management Agreements

BirdWatch Ireland have several management agreements with Curlew farmers in Counties Donegal and Leitrim. These agreements aim to enhance the habitat for Curlew and protect them during the breeding season. Prescriptions such as stocking rates, no machinery operations during the key breeding months and rush control to ensure having an open sward which Curlew require are imbedded in each individual management agreement which is tailored to the individual farm. The key element of these management agreements is having an advisory role from BirdWatch Ireland to help educate and steer the farmers in the right direction to protect this critically endangered species.


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