US News First hand-reared black-tailed godwit returns to the UK

13:05  24 april  2018
13:05  24 april  2018 Source:   pressassociation.com

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The two black - tailed godwits from Norfolk were among 26 that conservationists hatched and reared by hand before releasing into the wild, a process known as ‘headstarting’. After release the birds joined wild flocks and this is the first time any of them have been outside the UK .

One of the hand - reared birds at WWT Steart Marshes, Somerset (Joe Cockram/WWT/PA). The Project Godwit team welcomed the news that their birds had migrated safely. While tens of thousands of one subspecies of black - tailed godwits overwinter in the UK , most of them breed in Iceland.

Black-tailed godwits are in decline in the UK, with only a small breeding population (WWT/PA) © Provided by The Press Association Black-tailed godwits are in decline in the UK, with only a small breeding population (WWT/PA)

A black-tailed godwit released into the wild in the Fens after being hand-reared has returned home from its winter migration, wildlife experts have said.

The bird is one of 26 raised at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) Welney Wetland Centre, Cambridgeshire, and released into the wild last summer, from where they migrated as far as Portugal for the winter.

Their release was part of the Project Godwit efforts by the charities to increase the small, vulnerable breeding population of black-tailed godwits in the UK.

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Two of the first ever British wading birds to be released into the wild under a new conservation technique have been spotted alive and well – 1,200 miles away in Portugal.The two black - tailed godwits from Norfolk were among 26 that conservationists hatched and reared by hand before

Rare black - tailed godwits released into the wild in the Fens after being hand - reared have been spotted It was the first time “headstarting” had been used in the UK “They’re still less than a year old, so they probably won’t attempt return to the UK to breed this year, but older godwits should be

Conservationists said the sighting was a “wonderful and welcome surprise”, as the birds were not necessarily expected to return home from their wintering grounds this year.

More than two dozen chicks were hand-reared before being released into the wild © PA More than two dozen chicks were hand-reared before being released into the wild

The wading birds were hatched in captivity and hand-reared by wildlife experts from the RSPB and WWT away from dangers such as predators,  in a process known as “headstarting” which aims to improve survival chances and boost numbers.

The male is the first of the group to return to the Fens and has been named Delph after the river bank where he was sighted.

Project Godwit expert at WWT Louise Clewley,  who made the discovery, said: “It was right in front of WWT Welney’s main observatory for everyone to see.

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The black - tailed godwits - which have fewer than 60 UK nests - are being hand - reared , in the joint RSPB and Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) scheme. The first breeding pair returned to the Ouse Washes in 1952.

Black - Tailed Godwit . Rare black - tailed godwits released into the wild in the Cambridgeshire Fens after being hand - reared have been spotted 1,200 miles (1,930km) away, conservationists said. It was the first time “headstarting” had been used in the UK , and the new sightings are the first time

“Migration is fraught with danger and the successful return of the first of our UK hand-reared batch gives us hope for the future of these birds.”

Project Godwit aims to boost the small breeding population of the wading bird to help secure its future in the UK © PA Project Godwit aims to boost the small breeding population of the wading bird to help secure its future in the UK

Hannah Ward, RSPB Project Godwit manager, said:  “We weren’t necessarily expecting any of the hand-reared birds to return this summer so this is a wonderful and welcome surprise.

“We may have to wait until next summer before this young bird breeds but this is a fantastic moment for the Project Godwit team and great news for this magnificent but threatened species.”

– Project Godwit is a partnership between RSPB and WWT with major funding from the EU LIFE Nature Programme, HSBC’s 150th Anniversary Fund, Natural England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, through the Back from the Brink programme.

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32 eggs were collected from the wild in April and incubated at WWT Welney on the Ouse Washes, where the chicks will be hand - reared until they are strong enough to be released back into the wild. Black - tailed godwit threesome seen for the first time. Find out how wading birds find food in the mud.

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