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cranes

The cranes get their bling

Last Thursday (the 22nd), was a big day at crane school for both the aviculturist and the cranes themselves. It was the day that the birds would be fitted with all of the paraphernalia that would enable us to identify, keep track and in the case of a number of individuals build up a picture of their use of different habitat types.

The Cranes come to the Academy

cranes in their new pens

After a very hectic couple of weeks finishing off the pre-release pens (the crane academy) in Somerset, and the WWT crew preparing the birds for their move, the 'big day'  finally arrived.  A very early start up at Slimbridge saw the first 11 birds rounded up, checked over by the veterinary team, and then popped into tall wooden crates.

Flights

close up view of the crane feathers

This week has been an exciting time for us as we have seen the first flights from the eldest birds! The plumage has rapidly been developing from fluffy down into sleek waterproof feathers making the juveniles very handsome birds to look at. In this close-up you can see the last of the gingery down amongst newly developed feathers.

Crane Academy

Have been working the last couple of weeks with a great bunch of resilient crane volunteers to finish off the release enclosure / crane academy on the Levels and Moors.   Electric fencing is now all up, two 40 x 40 m top nets are sewn together, and one of the two netted pens is fully fitted out.

Video - The chick rearing process

A short video with Nigel sharing the rearing process of the young cranes at WWT's Crane School with fantastic footage of crane chicks.

Catching Cranes in Germany

  A radio tagged and ringed crane at the moment of release!

Cohorts of Cranes

a picture of cranes feeding together

Here are a couple of photos of the older birds at crane school taken on Tuesday this week.    These are all around five and a half weeks old and already nearly three feet tall, with wings growing rapidly.

Clarence takes his first steps

As you’ll have gathered from Amy’s blog, things are now settling into a routine at the crane centre with the youngsters growing nicely, some faster than others. What is becoming very evident now is that they are all starting to develop their own unique personalities. After working most recently cirl buntings, this has been quite an eye opener, as the cirls especially, being low down on the food chain were very cute but were generally like peas in a pod.

Happy One Month Birthday!

picture of crane number two at one month old

Two real highlights this week.  The first was seeing the oldest chicks at the crane school on Tuesdays – they are enormous!   The oldest hatched on April 24th so are now over one month old, over a kilogramme in weight and they come up to your knees.  In only around eight weeks these will be gleaning insects off the long grass and poking around in the wet, muddy edges of a pool created within the Somerset release enclosu

...excercising, foraging and socialising....

Now all 24 little critters have hatched and the eldest are over three weeks old, everyone has really started to notice the development of individual characters in the chicks. There is a real difference between the smallest, being no taller than the top of our ankles, and the largest, reaching up to our knees!