Wild choughs to return to Kent after two centuries

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Chough chicks

The chough chicks have been hand-reared for launch into the Kent countryside

A hen species that has been extinct in Kent for 200 years is being reintroduced to the wild after a captive breeding programme.

Ten choughs might be launched close to Dover within the coming weeks.

The birds are members of the corvid household which incorporates rooks, ravens, crows and magpies.

The chicks have been raised at Wildwood Belief close to Canterbury, in partnership with the Kent Wildlife Belief.

Paul Hadaway, director of conservation and engagement on the Kent Wildlife Belief, stated the reintroduction has been made attainable by years of labor restoring their habitat, via sympathetic grazing to encourage the return of different vegetation and bugs.

“By working with farmers and landowners we’re creating the situations for these birds to come back again,” he stated, “and by returning them we’re utilizing their presence to drive the subsequent many years of that course of.”

Tony Hadaway

Paul Hadaway has overseen the mission to reintroduce choughs to Kent

Grownup choughs are distinguished from different corvids by their pink legs and beaks.

Based on legend that colouring got here from strolling via the blood of the martyred Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket in 1170, and choughs seem on town’s coat of arms.

Adult chough at Wildwood

The grownup chough’s pink legs distinguish it from different members of the corvid household

Liz Corry from the Wildwood Belief helped rear the birds.

“There’s numerous hand-rearing concerned, which suggests numerous sleepless nights,” she stated, “but it surely’s simply so rewarding to know you are returning a species to Kent.”

She and her colleagues went to nice lengths to make sure the hand-reared chicks stay as wild as attainable.

She stated: “We’re utilizing a black glove and tweezers to imitate the dad and mom’ head, we play audio calls again between feeds in order that they’re listening to chough sounds and we’re making an attempt to discourage them from touchdown on us.”

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