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The new cranes start to find their feet

 Exploring with Crane 'Mum' - Amy King. 

The newest batch of nineteen cranes have been starting to intergrate with the older birds - but the process is happening a little slower than last year.  We think this is mainly because the older birds are really not keen to visit the pen, or be around anyone in a grey rearing suit.  Last year, where the older group were a year younger, (and not so wise!)  this was not the case. 

 Flying back into the release pen

We have been putting decoys with supplementary feed out in the fields around the release pen to encourage both the young and older groups to mix and start the process of re-establishing a new pecking order - and amazingly it is often the case that it is not neccessarily the older birds that win the battles for supremacy.

Watching the birds from dawn we are now happy that all the new birds can fly out of the release enclosure and are able to forage for themselves and the morning feed in the pen has been switched off.  This will encourage them out and about and increase the speed of integration.

 Cranes at the auto-feeder within the pen

In addtion we are also visiting the birds in the rearing suits every two to three days to walk them out to decoy points and continue to reinforce the fact that the decoys mean available food. 

The older cranes have most recently been roosting at night on Southlake Moor and feeding on arable crops left for them on Aller Moor, as well as mixing with the new birds near the release site.

 A couple of the birds learing how to land elegantly!

All photos by Nick Upton - thanks Nick! 

More soon.

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Damon’s role is to act as the hub of the project - making sure everyone involved knows what is going on and that it is all running smoothly. He is also responsible for project community awareness work in Somerset, construction of the release enclosure, and running the post release monitoring work in Somerset.  Damon works alongside the RSPB reserve teams in Somerset.