The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Curlew filmed defending its nest from a pheasant

As ground-nesting birds, curlew are under threat of predation.

A video of a curlew defending its nest from a pheasant has raised questions over the impact of gamebirds, as critics claim that pheasants cause more problems than raptors. 

Posted on X (formerly Twitter) with the comment, “We have more issues with pheasants on our curlew nests than we do with the numerous resident kites in North Glos”, the video highlights the need for more research on the impact on ground-nesting birds of the estimated 50 million pheasants released each year in the UK. 

ST contributor and curlew conservationist Patrick Laurie said: “We don’t understand how the relationship between pheasants and curlews actually works. It’s quite possible that high pheasant releases have an impact on curlew, but the impact is likely to be highly localised and complex. It’s important to base conservation plans on hard data, and there simply isn’t enough on this subject to know what should be done for the best. 

He continued; “Some great research is under way, but we mustn’t be tempted to jump the gun and leap to conclusions — particularly when it’s clear that people who dislike pheasant releases are sometimes using curlew as a weapon to attack shooting.”