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Onwards and Upwards - 2018 best year yet for the project

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This year, 46 of the cranes released between 2010 and 2014 paired up into 23 pairs, 21 of which went on to make breeding attempts across the South West of the UK.  This is the highest annual number of breeding pairs to date - and a result of all the released birds now being at breeding age and able to get on with the important business of reproducing! 

17 of these 21 nesting pairs went on to successfully hatch their eggs.  This hatching rate of 81% is a significant improvement on previous years (70% in 2017 and 33% in 2016) and probably indicates that the birds are getting better at selecting safe sites to nest and become more effective at incubation.

Of the 17 pairs that hatched chicks - 5 went on raise these chicks to fledging - with one of the pairs raising twins, and a total of 6 chicks in all.   These 6 chicks represent a 50% increase on last year's 4 chicks, and bring the total number of 2nd generation birds produced through the project so far to 17.

We had hoped for a higher number of fledglings  - but this is almost certainly the most dangerous period in a cranes' life -  with 8-10 weeks spent flightless -  and a tricky one for the new parents to get right.  The good news is, that they will have many years ahead of them to have further attempts, and hopefully refine their technique.

See graph below which shows steady progress in the right direction.

 

 

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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.