In the 1970s, farmland bird conservation was in its infancy and the UK Stone-curlew population was facing an uncertain future. Concerted action from groups such as the RSPB has increased the number of breeding pairs considerably, but does that mean that the species is now safe? John Waldon revisits the beginnings of Stone-curlew conservation in the UK, while Emily Field discusses the outlook for our rarer farmland birds.
Carrying out conservation work on private farmland was a novel concept 40 years ago. In the late 1970s, Montagu’s Harriers Circus pygargus bred in cereal fields on the Dorset–Wiltshire border and the RSPB employed staff to work with the landowners to protect the nests.