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All quiet on the western front

After just over a week in their new home one the Somerset levels, the cranes seemed to have settled in to the swing of things nicely. Any worries that Amy and myself might have had about the move have dissipated and we are now into a quiet period over the next few weeks whilst the cranes adjust to and imprint onto the new area. This quite period before the release proper starts in earnest is very convenient as it not only allows the birds to settle in but also ourselves as we have also moved to Somerset from Slimbridge. It also gives us some time to work on a release strategy, as a crane release is going to be very different from any of the previous UK re-introductions.

One of the problems that is going to face the young cranes, is that in the wild a young crane follows its parents throughout the winter until they are driven off at the start of the following breeding season. During this time, the young birds watch and mimic their parent’s activities in order that they can learn how to exploit all of the different food sources that are available throughout the year. It is also worth noting that the parents will continue to feed the youngsters choice tidbits, even though the young birds are capable of feeding themselves. Clearly although we cannot be around to do this for them, we can provide them with a supplementary source of food to get them started and a safe predator free place to come back to and roost. The rest however will be up to them

Therefore, although things are quiet just now a lot of planning and preparation is being put in place, to give the birds the best possible chances of survival, once our young birds leave their safe and secure environment for the tough and dangerous world of predators and other perils. So, although we are reaching the end of the rearing stage, there is still a long way to go.

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