Posted on Monday, October 3rd, 2011
This year’s chicks arrived from Russia at the beginning of August, then underwent a compulsory 30-day quarantine period, before being transferred into two sets of soft release pens. This is the first year that birds have been released at two sites; with half being released at the long-term release site and the other half at an additional site. The location of the new site was selected from a shortlist using ecologically relevant factors for great bustards. At each site the birds spent one week in the soft release pens before being released in mid-September into a larger predator-proof fenced area. Older birds have been present at both sites, mixing with the groups of newly-released birds. Although most of the new birds have generally remained faithful to the fenced release sites created for them, several have been observed moving into nearby fields and grassland, before returning to the pen. We anticipate that as the birds learn more about their new environment they will explore further from the fenced area; with the monitoring team now in place, we hope that we can collect good information on their movements and behaviour during this critical period.