Birdwatch Ireland hopes to recruit birdwatchers — €400 a week — for the coming summer season, but how many of those 14 short-term workers might be lucky enough to see a corncrake is uncertain.
The once ubiquitous bird, the cause of many a tossing, broken-sleep night, seems perilously close to extinction.
There was a further decline in corncrake numbers during the 2017 breeding season — the population recorded in Ireland fell for the third year in a row.
Only 140 pairs were seen, down from 230 just three years previously. The corncrake is not the only species struggling to replenish itself because of man’s impact on its habitat.
Curlews, grey partridges, and bees, salmon, and sea trout, too, are struggling.
It seems incredible that we cannot make room to sustain populations of these animals and their death-spiral raises several questions.
Why are we so slow, so reluctant to properly manage predators that prey on struggling populations?
But most of all, why do we always leave it so very late to intervene on behalf of endangered birds, animals, or fish?