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Common crane first nesting attempt in southern England for more than 400 years

08/04/2013 15:54:59

Cranes bred in the Fens in 2007.

Cranes nesting at Slimbridge
April 2013. Cranes bred in the Fens of East Anglia for the first time in 400 years in April 2007, at the RSPB's Lakenheath Fen nature reserve in Suffolk. A small number have been breeding the Norfolk Broads since 1979 but while they have bred there successfully, the population has remained isolated and vulnerable.

To secure the UK population, a decision was made to reintroduce the cranes to the Somerset Levels; eggs were brought from Germany, and hatched at WWT Slimbridge before being released onto the levels. Two of these birds have now returned to Slimbridge where they have mated and built a nest, right in front of one of the hides.

According to WWT "At three years of age, they are a young pair and might not be successful with their breeding efforts, but we're all keeping our fingers crossed."

"Whether they are successful or not, this is a unique chance to see these spectacular birds up close and exhibiting wild behaviours that very few people get the opportunity to see. Common cranes haven't bred in southern England for more than 400 years, which is why the Great Crane Project was set up to establish a wild group. "

"These are wild birds and it's their first attempt at breeding so there is a chance they might abandon their efforts. So if you're coming to see them please check our wildlife sightings page before setting off."

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