Birdwatch News Archive
On release, the freshly fledged crane flock follow human surrogate cranes to instill confidence in the outside world. Photo: Nick Upton/2020 Vision (via RSPB).
Cranes get a lift
Posted on: 25 Sep 2012
The Great Crane Project released a further 19 Common Cranes in Somerset this week, bringing the total so far to 52 reintroduced individuals.
This is the third such release onto the Somerset Levels and Moors and the fledglings, brought into the country as eggs from wild nests in Germany during April and May, will join 33 cranes already living in the wild in the South-West.
The releases are being managed by the Great Crane Project, a partnership between the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, RSPB and Pensthorpe Conservation Trust, with major funding from Viridor Credits Environmental Company. The aim is to restore healthy populations of wild Common Cranes throughout Britain, so that people can once again experience what was originally a native species in this country.
Damon Bridge, Great Crane Project Manager, said: “All went well, and 18 birds left their aviaries straight away, the first out of the gate being a bird named 'Easter Beans', but 'Blue Black Blue' was the first to actually fly. One bird however, 'Evie', was a little unsure, and spent the night in the safety of the aviary; it has since left the release enclosure and joined up with some of the older birds. Most have taken big flights up and above the pen, with some landing outside and being led back in, and many others flying out of their own accord and returning under their own steam. Also, all the older birds from previous years have shown great interest in the new ones, flying over, and landing nearby. It’s going to be fascinating to watch how they all get on.”
The release is the latest in a series of successful developments for the project. Earlier this year, Viridor confirmed further funding for the project to ensure that the project can release cranes for a further two years, monitor their welfare and movements and start to create, improve and manage wetland habitats for them as they approach breeding age.
Damon Bridge added: “It’s as if the whole project has moved to a new level this year. Our funding is confirmed and we are able to start developing our work with local people, especially schoolchildren. I can’t wait for next spring, as the first birds brought over in 2010 will then be coming into breeding condition and might – just might – start to turn their attention to nesting!”
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