Delight as rare birds breed in Lakenheath Fen

Common Crane, Grus grus, confirmed breeding of at least one pair at Lakenheath Fen RSPB reserve. Suf

Common Crane, Grus grus, confirmed breeding of at least one pair at Lakenheath Fen RSPB reserve. Suffolk, England. 17th May, 2007. Possibly for the first time in 400 years. Picture: ANDY HAY - Credit: Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)

They are among the country's rarest birds – but two pairs of cranes at the Lakenheath Fen nature reserve are doing their best to change all that.

Parent cranes flying with you young cranes at RSPB Lakenheath Fen nature reserve. Picture: SUBMITTE

Parent cranes flying with you young cranes at RSPB Lakenheath Fen nature reserve. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

Staff and volunteers at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds site are over the moon the two pairs have successfully raised three crane chicks between them – for the second year in a row.

And what's more, the birds have been bringing up their chicks within sight of rail commuters using the Norwich to Ely line.

Lakenheath Fen site manager, Dave Rogers said there were just 25 pairs of cranes breeding in the UK each year.

Mr Rogers said: 'Our two pairs of crane parents have done us proud.

Two adult cranes feeding a chick at RSPB Lakenheath Fen nature reserve. Picture: SUBMITTED

Two adult cranes feeding a chick at RSPB Lakenheath Fen nature reserve. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant


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'We put a lot of effort into creating a great home for them here at Lakenheath Fen and they have repaid us by raising a total of three chicks between them for the second year running. The fact that people have been able to spot them from the train as it passes the reserve has only added to the excitement.'

He added: 'Hopefully these three young cranes will go on to find mates over the next three to five years and eventually settle down and raise chicks of their own.'

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Mr Rogers and his team were able to capture intimate photographs of the birds using a remote trail camera.

Two of the chicks made their first flight in July.

Since then they have been feeding and building up their strength and confidence under the watchful eyes of their parents, before they leave the reserve in the autumn to feed across the wider fens.

Their parents became the first pair of cranes at Lakenheath Fen to successfully raise two young last year, and the other couple, affectionately known as 'Little and Large '. have also repeated their success of 2015 by rearing a single chick again this year.

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