Posted on Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
The Great Bustard, which became extinct in Britain as a nesting bird in 1832, successfully nested last year, when two pairs fledged two chicks on Salisbury Plain, in Wiltshire. And now the birds have produced eggs and healthy chicks for a second year running.
David Waters Founder and Director of the Great Bustard Group says: “This year we are aware of four Great Bustard nests, and that so far four chicks have hatched. In spite of their considerable size, nesting females are notoriously hard to find, and thus other females are suspected of nesting in addition to the four we are aware of. We very much hope these females will turn up with their youngsters later in the autumn, since the mother-offspring bond is especially strong and long-lasting. Since each mother has a tag, we will be able to tell which mothers were the ‘super-nannies’.”
The nest sites are kept secret due to fears of pressure from bird watchers and the eggs were marked with a special permanent DNA glue to deter and help prosecute egg collectors.
Two years of successful breeding and increasing number of nests indicate last year was no fluke, and that the Great Bustard is well on its way back to being established in the UK.