Though they were once deemed extinct for more than 400 years, the common wetland cranes are finding their footing in the UK waterways again. Thanks to conservation efforts that first started in 1979, the common crane now has 60 breeding pairs complete with 200 individual cranes. In the 1600s, the cranes went extinct due to hunting and wetland loss. The birds, famous for displays of courtship when mating, have finally come returned to their grounds.
"It is always great to get the opportunity to celebrate a real conservation success story and UK cranes is one of these,” said Conservation Scientist Andrew Stanbury from the RSPB in a statement. "Thanks to a successful conservation partnership we are welcoming a charismatic species back in our countryside following a 400-year absence."
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Wetlands and Wildfowl Trust joined forces to bring them back with The Great Crane Project.
Unidentified cranes, once never seen in the Somerset Moors breeding site, now arrive frequently and without hesitation. They've even begun to mate with the birds currently being studied and bred. Scientists are shocked and bewildered at this development, but certainly not disappointed. With these birds returning to their original homes, there is something truly wonderful coming around the corner for these skinny-legged birds. Some things are better left to mother nature...