Rare birds released in the Fens in conservation first for the UK

A black-tailed godwit day-old chick, Picture: Will Meinderts

A black-tailed godwit day-old chick, Picture: Will Meinderts - Credit: Will Meinderts

A score of rare black-tailed godwits were released into their new home in the Fens as part of a conservation first.

The godwit project. Picture: Bob Ellis

The godwit project. Picture: Bob Ellis - Credit: Bob Ellis

The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) hand-reared the young birds until they were old enough to look after themselves. They did this by removing the eggs from their nests and hatching them in incubators.

This conservation technique, managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, is named headstarting and it is the first time it has been used in the UK.

Black-tailed godwits released in the Fens. Picture: Bob Ellis

Black-tailed godwits released in the Fens. Picture: Bob Ellis - Credit: Bob Ellis

25 black-tailed godwits were released on Monday, June 12, and are expected to meet other black-tailed godwits. They will spend several weeks feeding on the rich wetlands before starting their migration to Spain, Portugal and West Africa.

WWT's Nicola Hiscock said: 'It has been a nerve-wracking day, but I'm delighted to say that all the godwits have now taken their first flights in the open air and started to explore.'


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