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Profile Picture and Leg Ring Combination Code

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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: Male
  • Date of Hatching (birthday): 5 May, 2011
  • Date of Release: 22 August, 2011
  • Tracking Tag: Radio tracking
  • Status: Paired with Flash. 2015: Nest built (thought to be Gerald/Flash pair) but failed 2016: Made 2 nesting attempts, both failed at egg stage. 2017: One nesting attempt – failed at egg stage. 2018: One successful nesting attempt, one chick reared to fledging stage. Sept 2019: One successful breeding attempt fledging one chick. 2020: One breeding attempt, failed at egg stage. 2021: Two breeding attempts, ultimately successful with 1 chick. 2022: 3 unsuccessful breeding attempts.
  • Life Status: Alive
  • Champion Status: Championed
  • Paired with: Flash

Character profile:

May 2011: Gerald is the sibling of Flash and was one of the second batch transported back on April 27th.  Being one of the last to hatch, it is in the D Block at the rearing facility, with Olly/Ollie as a neighbour.  He is a very inquisitive crane and is the most dominant of the D block cohort but is not aggressive.  He loves picking insects off the flowers in the exercise area. August 2011: Gerald has developed into a real character and is usually the first to explore new areas and find new items to play with (or pull apart!) He is good at foraging for food and also is developing strong flight muscles and control in the air. Having had a growth spurt – he is now one of the largest birds and has become a bit more dominant and did try for 'top bird' position, having a fight with Wally. Although he didn’t win we think he could be a definite leader for some of the group when they are finally released as he does have others joining him on his marches about the enclosure! September 2011:  Gerald's tendencies for violence and domination have isolated him a little from the group - and he has become a bit of a loner.  However, he is a strong individual, who should do well in the future. He does roost with the others, and has joined the 2010 birds on occasions but likes to do his own thing during the day - and to be honest - I imagine all the other cranes are pretty glad about that!  September 2012: Gerald has adapted well to life with the Somerset flock.  His 'angry bird' behaviour seems to have abated a little, and he and his cohort are all behaving as naturally as any wild cranes.  They have spent the summer feeding on the flooded grasslands of the Moors and Levels in small fragmented groups, but as autumn rolls in they are starting to flock again and follow the harvest, hoovering up any spilt and wasted grain in the fields. January 2014: 2013 was quite uneventful for Gerald, spending the spring and summer on Aller moor and West Sedgemoor, the autumn feeding in and around the Stoke St. Gregory Ridge and Stanmoor and the winter flood period on Stanmoor pasture, pulling up worms as part of a large flock.  Gerald has developed a particular style of walking that is fairly distinctive.  It resembles John Cleese in Monty Python’s ‘Ministry of funny walks’ sketch.  July 2015: Gerald has formed a strong pair bond with Flash, his sibling, during the spring of 2014 – and then went missing for much of the summer of 2014 – probably during moult in Somerset.  At the release of the final batch of young birds in the autumn, however – Gerald and Flash made a re-appearance and spent a lot of time intimidating the new birds.  They also seemed to almost ‘adopt’ a small group of them who followed them around everywhere.  Perhaps they were practising at being parents! In spring 2015 Gerald became a little elusive, along with Flash – and we are fairly certain that they are the pair of birds that built a nest on West Sedgemoor in a naturally very wet, low-lying and well vegetated area.  However – this could not be confirmed and the outcome was unsuccessful. February 2016: Gerald and Flash appear to still be paired up - and were  seen together and acting as a clear 'pair' from early January.  July 16 Established territory on the north eastern side West Sedgemoor in late January and started nesting activity in late March. The 1 st incubation started in 23 rd April but failed after about 16 days possibly predated by a crow or an otter. The 2 nd incubation in the same area began at the end of May but was predated after 30 days, predator unknown.    Nov 17:  Confirmed paired with Flash on 22nd March in the territory they held last year on West Sedgemoor.  On 24 April a nest was confirmed and incubation thought to have started on 22nd/23rd April.  On 9th May the nest was abandoned.  The nest was visited and no eggs found, and the cause of failure is unknown.  The pair remained in their territory feeding but no further attempts at nesting were made and rejoined the flock in the Autumn.    Sept 18:  Gerald and Flash were seen together in their territory occasionally during late winter and through into the Spring Incubation began 16th April and is thought to have hatched around 16th May.   Seen occasionally with their one chick in their territory but mainly well protected by vegetation.  An attempt was made to capture and ring/radio tag the juvenile on 16th July – but the birds evaded the team and it fledged, unringed shortly after.   Sept 2019Gerald and Flash were observed in January and February with their 2018 juvenile in the flock.  Back in their territory on West Sedgemoor, Somerset,  incubation on their first nest  began on 28th April.  Still incubating in mid May but off duty bird not seen very often.  This pair were very well hidden and difficult to observe so the date of hatch is uncertain.  They were eventually seen with one chick. The chick was ringed and radio tagged on 14th July and fledged before 10th August.  It was confirmed by DNA testing to be a female, nicknamed Fergie, and returned to the flock with its parents in August.      2020: Gerald and Flash were observed in territory in March and a crane nest (probably theirs) was found in June with broken eggshell remains.  No evidence of a further attempt.  Gerald has been observed with the flock on West Sedgemoor in the Autumn.    Sept 2021:   Gerald and Flash were observed feeding on West Sedgemoor, Somerset up to 27th March.  They were chased away from their chosen nesting site by another pair that are incubating there.   On 8th April their nest was confirmed and incubation started c 4th April.  Observed sitting until 1st May but were not observed again until 26th June when they were seen with 1 chick so assumed to have started incubation c 26/7th May.  The first nest must have failed before hatch.  The 2nd attempt hatched c 26th June but after that it was difficult to observe them due to dense vegetation.  On 19th July the pair were observed with 1 chick.  An attempt to ring the young bird failed and it subsequently fledged on 28th August.  The family were seen on West Sedgemoor in September.  Autumn 2022: Gerald and Flash remained on West Sedgemoor, Somerset Levels and Moors over the winter.  The pair made 3 breeding attempts in the same territory between April and June.  Two attempts reached almost full incubation length and the third failed at the time of hatch.  The reasons for failure were not discovered.  The pair have been seen regularly with the flock on West Sedgemoor in September and October.


Crane Champions

  • Burrow Hill B&B, Kingsbury

Photos of Gerald

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