TWENTY YEARS OF CORNISH CHOUGHS AND ANOTHER BUMPER YEAR

A cause for celebration! This year marks 20 years since the first Cornish born choughs were seen once again out on the cliffs. Conservationists are celebrating the milestone with the news that Cornwall’s bird continues to be on the up after another great nesting season this spring.

In 2002, a pair of choughs on the Lizard, who naturally returned to Cornwall the previous year after a lengthy absence from our coast, successfully fledged three young and choughs have bred every year since. Now, in 2022, 25 pairs of Cornish Chough were found to have been successful, raising over 70 young, bringing the current population to around 200 birds!

The return of the chough has been no small feat. Only through some great partnership work, and the support of an amazing team of volunteers has this been possible and it is testament to the hard work of nature friendly farmers and landowners for providing the suitable habitat for chough.

Nicola Shanks on behalf of the RSPB says “’A big thanks in getting Cornish Choughs to where they are today goes partly to the brilliant team of volunteers. From hours spent safeguarding nest sites, seeking out new pairs and engaging with the public, we wouldn’t be where we are today without them”

The chough can be seen all over the Duchy with small populations now on the mid and North Cornwall coast as their range continues to grow.  A huge achievement for a bird once extinct in Kernow but even greater against a backdrop of decreasing chough populations elsewhere in the UK.  Not all the young will survive to adulthood and raise families themselves but the higher the number of chicks that survive each year the more robust the birds become against extinction in the future.

Hilary Mitchell of CBWPS reports: “It’s becoming much harder to track down all our pairs now as we have so many more chough, and the records sent in to [email protected] once again proved incredibly valuable, particularly when locating new pairs. With our chough population increasing and spreading out along much of the Cornish coast, it’s wonderful that so many more people, both local and visitors, have had the opportunity to connect with these fantastic birds.”

Partners in The Cornish Chough Conservation Network are putting on a number of events and activities to celebrate and recognise the great number of people from volunteers, farmers, landowners and organisations that work for the benefit of chough.

Kate Evans from the National Trust says: “We often hear and read about nature decline in the news so it’s great to be celebrating a nature conservation success story like this one, and so close to home. We want as many people as possible to celebrate Cornish Choughs with us, whether that’s walking the coast path to spot a chough or taking part in the chough town trail in Penzance. We would love to see how people are celebrating and encourage you to share on social media using the hashtag #CornishChoughs20”

From guided walks & talks, a trail and storytelling – keep an eye out over the summer or visit: https://bit.ly/CornishChoughs20