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2021 Breeding Cranes Excel Themselves

Hello Crane Fans

Apologies to those of you who are wondering why no news has been posted for quite a long time.  Well, the breeding season is full of incident and has its ups and downs in terms of what’s happening.  Good news can be followed by less happy news and it can be quite a rollercoaster. So news is best broadcast when the situation is more settled.

We can safely say that the breeding season is over now but it has been a very long one this year – from early March until late August.  Most of the nests were on the Somerset Levels and Moors with others in nearby Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and even as far away as Cambridgeshire!

We are excited and privileged to announce that 2021 has been the most successful breeding season so far.  We know there are 15 (fifteen) fledged juveniles from 12 successful pairs of adults.  23 pairs of adults in total made breeding attempts,  which means that 11 pairs either failed at egg stage, or failed to rear their chicks to the point of fledge.   More information on breeding outcomes will be available in the Annual Report due out in January 2022.

Three of the young cranes were successfully captured, and colour ringed.  Like other ringed later generations of cranes they wear a colour combination that has a green lower ring.  There are ringed younger birds for every past breeding season so we can follow at least some of every additional cohort. 

This year one ringed  2nd generation crane, hatched in Somerset in 2016 (a female nick-named Wurzelina) bred for the first time with a mate (Pecky), who came from the final release year, hatched in 2014.  They were actually the first pair to hatch a chick this year, in early April.  As far as we know she is the first of the 2nd generation cranes (progeny of the original hand-reared, released birds) to raise a chick to fledge.  The family are seen regularly in their territory.

Four of the pairs we knew to be breeding outside Somerset have successfully raised 5 of the total 15 juveniles.  Most of the birds who bred outside the Somerset Levels and Moors are either back in Somerset – or expected back - and we will continue to monitor them over the winter.  Non-breeding birds have also started to gather.  As many as 50 cranes have been seen on West Sedgemoor recently so their return has started. 

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