First common crane chick born at Washington Wetland Centre in site's 46-year history

Video report by Ross Hutchinson

A common crane chick has hatched at a Wearside wildlife centre - the first in its 46-year history.

The new arrival was born at WWT Washington Wetland Centre, on Wearside, to a pair of cranes who, despite being at the centre since 2008, had not previously bred successfully.

The 15-year-old parents welcomed their chick on Monday 9 May after months of nest-building and lying low near the back of Washington centre's stream, where the pair laid and incubated their egg.

The birth of the new chick is particularly special for Washington Wetland Centre as its parents arrived there from the WWT's headquarters in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, as part of the Great Crane Project which is reintroducing the species in the UK.

Collection manager, Rhys McKie, said: “We’re unbelievably thrilled to see our common cranes become parents for the first time.

"And it’s even more thrilling that this pair of cranes came from the Great Crane Project."

Video from WWT Washington Wetland Centre

Common cranes are the UK's tallest bird at 4ft and though once widespread throughout the country, they became increasingly endangered roughly 400 years ago.

This was due to being hunted and their wetland nesting sites being drained.

A close eye is being kept on the new parents and their behaviour to ensure their health and behaviour is alright.

"The adults have been here since they were just one year old, arriving in 2008, so at the age of 15, this is a pretty big moment for them and for us all," Rhys added.

The chick was born to parents who were part of the Great Crane Project to reintroduce cranes to the UK. Credit: WWT Washington Wetland Centre

Visitors will have to wait to see the newborn as the family is off-show to give them bonding time in a protected environment.

Rhys added: “While there are still hurdles this family has to get over, we’re giving them the best possible chance to thrive.

“They’re doing all the right things and are bonding as we would hope, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that everything continues to go smoothly for this very special species, with visitors hopefully able to see them back in their enclosure this summer.”

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