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Long-billed Curlew


Long-billed CurlewNo management projects currently exist specifically for Long-billed Curlews in Alberta. However, there are several management plans that aim to protect the native grasslands for the species that rely upon it. Among these is Operation Grassland Community, a public awareness program operated by the Alberta Fish and Game Association. North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) projects within Alberta have identified native grasslands as one of the habitats supporting the highest avian diversity. 

Declines in Long-billed Curlew populations have been recorded throughout its range since the early 1900s. These declines were initially attributed to over-hunting and, later, to habitat loss caused by agricultural activities. While curlews are no longer hunted, loss of breeding habitat continues to be a threat. Within Alberta, the preferred breeding habitat of Long-billed Curlews is native prairie grasslands and sandhills. Further threats to this habitat, such as irrigation projects enabling extensive cultivation in arid regions, construction of roadways and petroleum pipelines, and urban growth, have the potential to reduce Long-billed Curlew breeding habitat within the province.

Numbers of curlews in Alberta are generally greater than elsewhere in Canada, however, existing data show that the provincial population is declining. Given the continental population trends, it would be prudent to carefully monitor curlew populations in the province.

Reprinted from Alberta Wildlife Status Report No. 16 (1998), with permission from Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.

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