The charity “Birdlife International” put the curlew on its global “birds at risk” list for the first time in 2008. At Layside we are lucky enough to welcome the humble bird as it returns to the National Park every year to begin nesting and courting on the rough pasture. It is in fact one of the first signs of spring, and after a long winter it is fantastic to hear its distinctive call. More birds have arrived this week, hopefully indicating the end of winter! The natural historian George Bolam quoted: “A moor without a curlew is like a night without a moon, and he who has not eyes for one and an ear for the other is a mere body without a soul”. This bird which is once heard, never forgotten, is the emblem of the Northumberland National Park, and is celebrated by the local Allendale Brewery – the “Curlew’s Return” being the first beer brewed on St Valentine’s Day 2006 – and both can be enjoyed at Layside!