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Somerset dairy farm hosts a rare visitor

17th February 2012

The common crane, a species that became extinct in Britain as a breeding bird in the 1600’s, has been sighted this month on a Somerset dairy farm that supplies Waitrose with essential Milk and Cream. What makes this sighting even more exciting is that the bird is not one of those released as part of the Great Crane Project but is a wild bird.

Tim Oliver, who heads up the Waitrose WildCare programme on behalf of Waitrose and Dairy Crest comments “Despite its name, the common crane is not at all common in the UK. It’s very unusual to see cranes in the west of the country, that’s why conservationists have been releasing captive bred birds. These released birds have bright rings on their upper legs, but the bird recorded on the Waitrose WildCare farm had no rings at all, so had found its own way to Somerset.”

As part of the Waitrose WildCare initiative the farm where the crane was recorded dedicates an impressive 26% of the farmland to plant and wildlife habitats (the scheme’s requirement is a minimum of 10%), and has already sighted over 80 species of bird.

“Habitat provisions made by the farming family are providing the right habitat and food for this scarce species,” notes Tim, “It has been resident on the farm for a week now, so is clearly happy with its surroundings.

“It’s a credit to the dedication of the family on this Waitrose dairy farm that this species, which has been missing from the UK wetlands for nearly 400 years, has decided to pay an extended visit,” concludes Tim.

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Issued by Helen Harcombe, Pinstone Communications Ltd. Tel: 01568 617623 helen@pinstone.co.uk

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