Dozens of Eurasian Curlew eggs have been saved from RAF airfields as part of the first-ever joint effort between the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Natural England to boost the species' numbers in parts of lowland Britain.
Under normal circumstances, the eggs from nests near military runways would have been destroyed under an individual licence to protect flight safety.
Instead, the eggs were transported to Slimbridge WWT, Gloucestershire, to be hand-reared and released into the Severn Vale. It's hoped they will help to recover the fragile population in the area.
UK Eurasian Curlew numbers have declined by 60 per cent over the past 30 years and it is now considered the biggest bird conservation priority in the country. While numbers are slightly healthier in the uplands of northern England and Scotland, only hundreds of pairs remain in southern England, Wales and Ireland, where declines have been particularly marked.
Nigel Jarrett, Head of Conservation Breeding at WWT, said: "It's an exciting opportunity for everyone involved. On one hand, curlews at East Anglian air bases pose a potential risk to aviation, but on the other hand they have the potential to help their struggling cousins in the South-West.