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Have you heard of Gru and Dru? They’re two little Common Crane (Grus grus) chicks who’re simply 9 weeks previous. They’re consuming roots, hanging across the nest, and starting to fly quick distances; like different chicks of their age. But they don’t seem to be simply any cranes: these two little chicks are probably the primary Common Cranes ever to be born in Belgium.

 

Although Common Cranes may be seen in Belgium yearly, as they journey by the hundreds throughout their summer time and winter migrations, there’s no document of them ever nesting and breeding in Belgium earlier than. We do have hints from the distant previous, equivalent to an area swamp named ‘Craenengoor’, the place cranes are stated to have been noticed within the sixteenth century, however we have now no actual proof of any cranes breeding there.  

 

Gru and Dru had been born within the valley of the Black Brook, a nature reserve run by BirdLife Partner Natuurpunt in northeastern Belgium. What made their mother and father select to breed there?

 

Like when folks search for a brand new residence to begin a household, when cranes search for a breeding spot, the place has to tick a number of packing containers. It must be sufficiently contiguous (not fragmented by roads). It must be calm: cranes should relaxation, they usually want their peace and quiet throughout nap time. It wants to supply shelter. It wants water. It wants meals. And the valley of the Black Brook merely ticks all of the packing containers!

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For cranes to breed, they want the best circumstances on the proper time, too. The cranes had truly landed within the valley for the primary time in 2019, however they didn’t keep lengthy. In 2020, they got here again, constructed a nest, mated – however no breeding ensued. Then, in 2021 (third time’s the allure), they felt comfy sufficient to mate instantly after their arrival, and laid two eggs, out of which might later come Gru and Dru. Watch them having fun with their present residence on this video.

 

© Wim Dirckx

 

Known as ‘Zwarte Beek’ in Dutch, this moist, peaty stream valley extends over 4 municipalities, and covers an space of 800 hectares – that’s equal to virtually 2000 soccer pitches!

 

In the previous, the valley had suffered critical degradation. But because of 40 years of ecosystem restoration work by volunteers from Natuurpunt, nature is bouncing again: the valley of the Black Brook is now a wholesome, crane family-friendly place.

 

What’s subsequent for Gru, Dru and their mother and father? They will in all probability keep within the breeding space till October, and after that, the household ought to join with migrating cranes from the North. Another risk is that they’ll select to remain in Zwarte Beek for the winter, or make non permanent journeys to Germany, as has been noticed with different birds simply over the border.

 

It’s a tricky world on the market for the Common Crane, so this story could be very welcome information. Historically, cranes have been victims of large-scale searching; till the European Union’s Birds Directive protected them. The institution of Natura 2000, a community of protected breeding and resting websites, definitely helped them too.

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Today, nature restoration is offering habitat in areas that had misplaced their wetlands in order that cranes can come again and repopulate the areas from which that they had been chased. We’re seeing it occur within the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, central Europe – and now, Belgium.

 

In any case, we hope that Gru and Dru’s mother and father had a nice keep in Zwarte Beek. We would love them to come back again sooner or later, and listen to the crane calls be a part of within the morning refrain of singing Bluethroat (Cyanecula svecica) and courting Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago).

 

© Wim Dirckx

 

 



Source www.birdlife.org