Crane is special guest in county
PUBLISHED: 10:29 17 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:02 22 October 2010
The early signs of romance at a nature reserve between a wild European male and a local female have been giving real hope that a breed of bird could be re-introduced into the UK after a 300-year gap.
It appears to have been love at first sight.
And the early signs of romance at a Norfolk nature reserve between a wild young European male and a young local female were last night giving real hope that a breed of bird could be re-introduced into the UK after a 300-year gap.
The wild common European crane landed at Pensthorpe, near Fakenham, during Thursday night and excited staff immediately noticed it getting friendly with a young captive bred bird.
It is the first time this has happened and as cranes bond for life it is hoped the happy couple will blossom and possibly breed in the future.
European common cranes grow to a height of over 4ft and have a very distinctive call.
Flocks of these graceful birds were once one of the most prominent sights in the British countryside but common cranes died out in the UK in the 17th century due to the erosion of their native habitat and excessive hunting.
More English place names - such as Cranwich and Cranworth - are named after the common crane than are named after any other animal.
They were one of the first migratory birds to fly back to the UK at the start of spring, which made them particularly important to the farming community as a sign of the new season starting.
The bond between the two birds at Pensthorpe was described by the park - which is run by Bill and Deb Jordan - as "absolutely amazing" and "potentially very significant."
Mr Jordan - who is also chairman of Jordans Cereals - said he was "thrilled" at the potential implications.
"It is a great sign that cranes want to settle in the Wensum Valley and a major step to building other colonies of this wonderful bird around the UK.
"As someone who loves British wildlife that really excites me."
Pensthorpe-based captive breeding specialist Andrew Reeve said three years had been spent creating the right conditions for cranes to thrive and eventually breed.
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