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A tough Decision

From time to time tough decisions have to be taken for both the good of a bird and the good of the group in general. Last week we had to make such a decision regarding Dennis. Unfortunately Dennis had not been joining in with the other birds from the start of the release; initially he did not come back to the pen to roost with the other birds, preferring to wait the wrong side of the fence in the perfect position to get taken by a fox. This would not have been a satisfactory situation so after three days of catching him up each evening, a decision was made to brail his wing to prevent him from leaving the pen until he’d learnt to roost with the other birds.

Brailing is a method of temporary flight restraint, by which we taped up a wing for a period of one week at a time. It was important that the brail only stayed on the wing for a period of one week as any longer could have affected his flight permanently.

The brailing was successful in getting Dennis to roost in the pen at night with the other birds. So after three weeks of brailing each wing alternately the brail was removed. Unfortunately although Dennis now roosted in the pen each night, he was still not joining in with the other birds and therefore, not leaving the pen with the others in the morning to go out and forage over the levels. After about a week we could see that he wasn’t finding enough to eat and his condition was deteriorating, so with heavy hearts the difficult decision was taken to remove him from the release program.

Now Dennis is in captivity he is looking much better and after a thirty day quarantine at Slimbridge he will probably move on to Pensthorpe, where he will join the breeding program there.   

Although we’re all sad to loose a bird from the release program we’re happy that he is safe and well and hope that he will go on to sire many future cranes over the years. 

- Amy and Roland

Dennis resting in his pen   Dennis

Dennis, good luck at Pensthorpe.

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