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Profile Picture and Leg Ring Combination Code

  • Red
  • White
  • Red

What is this?

Each crane has a unique combination of 3 coloured rings on their right leg. This marking code helps to identify the crane in the wild.

  • Sex: Female
  • Date of Hatching (birthday): 24 April, 2010
  • Date of Release: 24 August, 2010
  • Tracking Tag: Radio tracking
  • Status: Alive, paired with Midnight 2015 &2016. Currently unpaired. Successful breeding attempt 2015 & 2016, producing 1 fledged chick each year. 2017: no breeding attempt. 2018: no breeding attempt. 2019: no breeding attempt - but paired up with Gary post-breeding. 2020: No evidence of pairing or a breeding attempt. 2021: paired with Gary (2014 male) and raised 1 chick to fledge. 2022: paired with Gary and raised 2 chicks to fledge.
  • Life Status: Alive
  • Champion Status: Championed
  • Paired with: Gary

Character profile:

Summer 2010:  Gemma is Clarence’s sister and sidekick and is a high ranking female. She can be aggressive and comes to the defence of Clarence if anyone tries to challenge his authority. She is often found in a small cohort along with Clarence and Michaela. September 2010: Gemma has continued to explore the landscape around the West Sedgemoor release pen along with Clarence and Michaela, but also with Wendy, Glibert, Tamsin, Cosmo, Jack, Twinkle and Bart. She is a fine looking bird, who seems to enjoy the security of the cohort group.  She regularly roosts within the release enclosure pool each night along with 18 of the other cranes.  October 2010: Gemma is still Clarence's favourite friend and is always there to explore the new areas they are discovering around the Levels and Moors. November 2010: In recent weeks the cranes have all joined forces with Clarence and Gemma's group and are now usually moving as a group of 20. They have found new fields to explore and are often found foraging on maize stubbles, Gemmas new favourite food.  January 2011:  Gemma has become one of the flock - with the whole body of birds largely acting as one over through the coldest December on record. As one of the oldest, she is starting to show signs of her adult plumage with pale cheek patches and a darker neck.  March 2011:  As with the other birds, Gemma although a bit scruffy just now, survived the winter well and is in good health. She is starting to display quite a lot and is one of the keenest dancers in the group.  April 2011:  A couple of days after her 1st birthday, Gemma flew to Catcott and Shapwick with Clarence, Bart and Chris where they roosted the night, before heading back to join the rest of the birds in their more usual haunts around Aller Moor. September 2011:  Gemma has been socialising well with the new 2011 cranes and has not been involved in any major fights between the age groups.  Her adult plumage has developed well, and is almost fully established, giving her a beautiful appearance.  June 2012: Gemma seemed to form quite a tight bond with Bart in March, and the two birds were seen together on the Greylake Nature Reserve as well as north of the Poldens in flight on the same day, and separate from the rest of the group.  It is probably too early for a proper pair-bond to form, but interesting never-the-less..and perhaps a pair to watch in future! Gemma was part of a group of 11 birds that flew 70+ miles north in early June to Gloucestershire and visited the wetland reserve area at Slimbridge, but returned the following day. April 2013:  After a summer and winter mainly on the Somerset Moors, Gemma headed up to Slimbridge, along with Bart and Wendy to join the four birds that had been there already.  Currently it's not clear whether she is the partner of Bart - or Wendy is.... or perhaps its a very 'modern' relationship. Rudimentary signs of nest building were seen by this group of three in early April.  May 2013:  Gemma decided that Bart was not quite for her during May and she returned to the main group in Somerset.  July 2013: Gemma didn't undergo a moult this year, so presumably will do so in 2014.  January 2014: Gemma remained part of the Somerset flock through the winter, spending the majority of the time feeding in pasture land on Stanmoor.  We hope that she will pair up during the Spring of 2014.  July 2014: In late Feb 2014 Gemma was seen mating with Lofty (2011 male).  In early March however she turned up at Slimbridge without Lofty, went missing for a while and then reappeared at Slimbridge at the end of March. She stayed at Slimbridge through April.  On 24th April, in the company of 3 2012 birds (Chocolo, Maple, Midnight) she turned up at Cotswold Water Park in Wiltshire. There were then no sightings until 4th May 2014 when she was seen in Shropshire along with Midnight. They stayed in Shropshire for a couple of days.   There have been no further sightings of Gemma or Midnight since these in May and we await their return!  Aug 2014:  A bird with a badly damaged leg was being seen in Somerset from mid July -  and on Aug 8th it was identified as Gemma. September 2014:  The injured bird has now been correctly identified as Gilbert, and Gemma has been re-sighted on the Somerset Levels, alive and well.  July 2015: Gemma spent the winter of 2014/15 in Somerset. However, she was last seen in early spring 2015.  It is possible she is with Midnight, the 2012 male bird she spent last Spring with somewhere, making a breeding attempt.  We await her re-sighting with some anticipation! September 2015: Gemma was identified along with her partner, Midnight and their new chick on private land in Wiltshire in early September. Well done Gemma - what a star! February 2016 Gemma and Midnight raised their chick all winter down on the Somerset Levels and Moors.  It will be interesting to see if they go back to their Wiltshire site in the Spring for another attempt. July 16: Remained on Somerset Levels and Moors with their chick through the late winter and returned to last year’s nesting area in Wiltshire in late March, initially with the chick but later just as a pair. Confirmed as incubating but outcome yet to be confirmed. Sep 16: Appeared back on the Somerset Levels in late August with a fledged chick - Success for the second year in a row! Nov 17:    Gemma and her juvenile from 2016 were seen in several places during the year but without a prospective mate.  She eventually returned to last year’s nesting site in Wiltshire with both her chick and, rather surprisingly, BopBop who is also a female.   The 3 birds were present throughout the summer at the Wiltshire site.  Gemma eventually returned to Somerset in September and rejoined the flock.   Sept 18:   Gemma has not been seen since March when she was observed at Otmoor (Oxon) with an unringed bird – presumably her 2016 juvenile, and BopBop.  Sept 2019:    In January 2019 Gemma was observed in Somerset with BopBop – the female bird that she had spent most of 2018 with in Wiltshire.  Both were seen again on 16th of February.  She was then observed in Wiltshire again with BopBop in early April and reported to be with a ringed crane (colours uncertain) in late August.  In September she was photographed with a ringed bird on land owned by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.  The rings of her companion were a little indistinct but were thought to be those of Gary (YeBlBk) a male released in 2014.   Gemma was seen again in early December in Wiltshire in the company of Gary - and these are now presumed to be a pair.2020:  There was no evidence of either pairing or a breeding attempt this year.  Covid-19 restrictions prevented regular monitoring of the birds but in September Gemma was observed with the flock in Somerset.  Sept 2021:   On 9th April it was reported from Wiltshire that Gary was also observed in Gemma's territory so could be incubating. No further information until 9th June when it was reported that the pair have two well grown chicks.  One chick was lost c 20th May.  The family have been observed with the flock on West Sedgemoor, Somerset during September.   Autumn 2022:  Gemma and Gary spent the winter on West Sedgemoor, Somerset and returned to their Wiltshire territory in the spring. They were reported to have hatched 1 chick on 24th April.  In May it was confirmed that they had 2 chicks.  In October they were observed on W Sedgemoor with 1 fledged juvenile.  The other may have been with them but they were part of a large flock with other juveniles so difficult to confirm.  It was noted that one of the juvenies was missing later in the Autumn.          

Crane Champions

  • Year 7 Shapwick School
  • Walkers Farm Cottages

Photos of Gemma

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