Reintroduced Common Crane pairs up with wild bird


Common Crane from the Somerset reintroduction programme has paired up with a wild bird in Scotland.

The West Country bird, nicknamed 'Sherry', is the offspring of a pair that was released in Somerset as part of the Great Crane Project. She has recently been seen in Aberdeenshire with a male and performing courtship dances. 

It marks the first time a crane released in England has been seen with a mate in Scotland.

Common Crane is enjoying a population increase in Britain (Geof Slocombe).


Crane revival

RSPB Scotland volunteer Amanda Biggins has been monitoring Scottish cranes since they were found breeding in 2012 and said: "It's wonderful to see mixing of the UK's cranes to increase the genetic diversity of our small population.

"It's a pleasant surprise to welcome Sherry to Aberdeenshire. Our cranes are migratory and we suspect that they leave the UK every autumn. Sherry's movements suggest that they spend the winter in France. 

“We're hopeful that the pair find a peat bog to call home and return next year when they should be ready to begin nesting."

Five pairs of Common Crane attempted to breed in Scotland last year, the highest number on record. They successfully fledged four chicks, bringing the total number of Scottish young up to 25. Indeed, 2023 was a record year for the species in Britain, which has enjoyed an increase in recent years.


Bouncing back

"It's exciting to see Sherry make quite a leap from the lowland wetlands of Somerset to the peat bogs of Aberdeenshire," said Damon Bridge, chairman of the UK Crane Working Group.

"We're delighted that she has returned to the British Isles from her winter spent in the west of France and can't wait to see what comes next for the new pair."