The Cranes of Lakenheath Fen

The RSPB created Lakenheath Fen almost 20 years ago, converting a large area of former farmland in to reedbeds with the aim of attracting breeding Bitterns. Unexpectedly, Common Cranes also arrived, and they have bred there for the past ten years. Norman Sills shares his experiences of the breeding behaviour and requirements of the Lakenheath Cranes in the hope that it will help this majestic species return to other British wetlands.

In the 1990s, Bitterns Botaurus stellaris were facing an uncertain future in the coastal marshes of East Anglia, so the RSPB and other conservation organisations set about the creation of new, freshwater Phragmites reedbeds inland to provide them with suitable habitat well away from any forthcoming rise in sea-level. One such project was to become the RSPB’s Lakenheath Fen reserve, in Suffolk.

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