The Slender-billed Curlew, Numenius tenuirostris, ‘the slim beak of the new moon’, is one of the world’s rarest birds. It once bred in Siberia and wintered in the Mediterranean basin, passing through the wetlands and estuaries of Italy, Greece, the Balkans and Central Asia. Today the Slender-billed Curlew exists as a rumour, a ghost species surrounded by unconfirmed sightings and speculation. The only certainty is that it now stands on the brink of extinction. Birds are key environmental indicators. Their health or hardship has a message for us about the planet, and our future. What does the fate of the Slender-billed Curlew mean for us, and for the natural world? What happened to it, and why? In Orison for a Curlew Horatio Clare journeys through a fractured Europe in search of the Slender-billed Curlew, following the bird’s migratory path on an odyssey that takes us into the lives of the men and women who have fought to save the landscapes to which the bird belongs. This is a story of beauty, triumph, and the struggles of conservation. It is a homage to a bird which may never be seen again.