First flight of wild young English cranes for 400 years

Wildlife conservationists are celebrating after young wild cranes took to the air in the West Country for the first time in four centuries. For obvious reasons the conservationists kept news of the young birds’ existence secret since they hatched in May.

But the Great Crane Project have confirmed that a pair have fledged on farmland on the Somerset Levels. Once the  young cranes can fly they are less vulnerable to their natural predators and are likely to travel away from the nests with their parents. It’s a significant step for the Great Crane Project, which has been reintroducing cranes to the West Country since 2009. This is the first time that cranes from the project have successfully reared chicks.

It takes 100 days from freshly laid eggs to free-flying cranes and breeding attempts often end before the 100 days are up as there are many dangers along the way.

But this is a fantastic result and deserved reward for the dedication and hard work of the team on the project. Damon Bridge, Great Crane Project Manager was not surprisingly over the moon “We’re all absolutely delighted – success for us has always been about seeing young raised in the wild take flight.  To have young on the wing at in Somerset and at Slimbridge so early on is really fantastic and bodes well for the birds very quickly establishing themselves more widely in the south and west. The cranes are long-lived birds with many breeding attempts ahead of them and we are well on our way to our target of 20 breeding pairs in the South West by 2025.”

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