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Plumage development

Cranes on the MoorA few of the birds are starting to show a development in plumage with their adult colours starting to appear. The necks of the birds are starting to change colour and the white on the side of their faces is replacing the once gingery juvenile plumage. One even has a little bit of red emerging on the top of its head. This is very exciting to see and I can imagine in a couple of months the complete appearance of the flock will have changed!

Photo right: The cranes on Aller Moor, Somerset.  Dec 5th 2010 Photo - Nick Upton.  Michael (Green-Blue-Red) is in the middle  with the white head!

As well as their looks, the flock are developing their voices. Recently, the squeaking sound heard from the young birds used as a contact call is disappearing and a noise which could be possibly mistaken for a goose is being produced! We usually hear it when they are coming into land and is not yet like an adult call. We still await the amazing bugling sound we have imagined travelling across the Levels and Moors, but they are getting there, sometimes changing faster than we expected!

It really is amazing to think that only 7 months ago we were looking after these birds as tiny chicks.

There is now a sightings page on the website plotting the areas where the birds have been sighted. If you take a trip to the Levels and Moors keep your eyes peeled and add to the map if you catch sight of any of the group!

Amy     

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