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Crane chicks feared dead after disappearing from Spalding area nature reserve




Crane chicks which were born in a South Holland nature reserve have sadly died.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust closed off Willow Tree Fen, in Tongue End, during January to help nesting cranes repeat the success of 2020 when chicks were hatched for the first time in around 400 years.

Hopes were high among staff and volunteers who had watched the two chicks hatch and start to feed.

A crane chick which hatched at Willow Tree Fen last year. Image by Nick Williams
A crane chick which hatched at Willow Tree Fen last year. Image by Nick Williams

Sadly the trust has reported that both chicks have now died, between Bank Holiday Monday and Tuesday morning.

It is not known what happened but the disappearance of the chicks follows a period of very wet and cold weather over the Bank Holiday weekend.

The bad weather and a lack of available food, may have been the reason. Similarly, young cranes are very vulnerable in their first few weeks and may have fallen victim to a predator.

The Trust’s South Lincolnshire Warden John Oliver said: “Cranes are incredibly rare in the UK and we were delighted to welcome them back to the reserve for the second year in a row. However, it is not unusual for them lose chicks and only about 10-20% of crane chicks actually make it to adulthood.

“Whilst the whole team are incredibly disappointed, we understand that this is not unusual in the grand scheme of things and with such long lived birds, a survival rate of one out of every five chicks is more than enough to sustain the population. We are therefore confident that this is not the end of the story for cranes in Lincolnshire.”

The reserve will remain closed. Head of Reserves Dave Bromwich said: “Following the loss of the chicks, we have taken the decision to keep the reserve closed for the time being. The adults are still on site and we are hopeful that there is still time for them to make a second breeding attempt.”



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