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Common Crane Recolonizing in Scotland

crane

Image source: Google Images

After centuries of absence, common cranes are beginning to recolonize in Scotland.

The return was not an organized attempt by conservationists, but the natural migration and breeding of at least one mating pair. Beyond Scotland, small pools of cranes are turning up in northern and western Europe.

Cranes are of an unmistakable symbolism, playing a role in the myths of regions as varied as France and east Asia. Flamboyant and temperamental, these lithe and leggy creatures are gifted with long, slender physiques, which they use to participate in lively mating rituals. This is perhaps the reason that a majority of widespread legends portray cranes as the embodiment of elegance and beauty.

Throughout Asia cranes have also been known to symbolize happiness and eternal youth. Such allusions to immortality only add to the appropriateness of their sporadic survival and resurface, promising hope for the future longevity of the species.

Cranes had disappeared across Scotland by the middle ages, due to hunting and a change in agricultural practices. Furthermore, scientific evidence had shown no known breeding populations beyond the Iron Age. But during spring of last year, a chick was born. Welcomed and cared for by a breeding pair in Scotland’s north-east region. Having reprized their passionate dance, the pair is now raising their second chick, born just this summer.

In addition to a specific reintroduction in Somerset, small populations have been accumulating naturally in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, and Yorkshire. With 17 breeding pairs known at last count in 2011.

Among enthused conservationists is Stuart Housden, director of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Scotland. According to Housden,

“They [cranes] undertake regular migrations and small numbers have turned up on the east coast of Scotland in recent years, raising hopes of a recolonization.”

However, further insight into their whereabouts is limited. Thus far, the RSPB has remained silent about their breeding sites due to the chances of disturbance. But, if current conditions are maintained, scientists are optimistic that the return will be permanent.

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