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Flocking back: why Choughs are making a return in Cornwall

Choughs have been come back to their home of Cornwall after years. Photo: ITV News

Cornish Choughs are thriving back in their home habitats after being a rare spot in the county for decades.

There are believed to be around 45 of the birds in Cornwall, a "pretty good number" according to the RSPB, considering that not so long ago there were absolutely none. Now they have spread as far north as Tintagel.

The big decline happened during the Victorian era and the Victorians had this passion for collecting so they would collect eggs, they would also collect live specimens and send them all around the country.

There's a very interesting record...in the early 1900s of thirty five Choughs killed and trapped at Perranporth.

– Claire Mucklow, RSPB
Cornish Choughs are thriving back in the county. Credit: ITV News

The birds were first spotted back in Cornwall in 2001 and DNA testing carried out a few years ago by a student at Aberdeen University revealed that the birds now in Cornwall came from Ireland. They were not re-introduced but naturally colonised the area again.

To help with this colonisation though the RSPB has enlisted the help of the farming community.

Choughs eat lots of soil invertebrates so the key to good habitat is grazing. So I've been working with the farming community and encouraging farmers to put stock back on to parts of the clifftops where maybe there hadn't been any grazing for may be a hundred, a hundred and fifty years.

– Claire Mucklow, RSPB

Initiatives like this will encourage the Cornish Choughs to stay where they belong, back in Cornwall.

The birds have naturally re-colonised the area. Credit: ITV News