By Roger HarrabinBBC environment analyst
22 April 2020
The graceful crane - the tallest bird in the UK - is making a comeback into Britain’s wetlands thanks to re-introduction and habitat restoration.
It was absent as a breeding bird for 400 years because of wetland drainage and widespread hunting.
Now, an estimated 200 of them are dispersed in Wales, Scotland, the Fens, Suffolk and Gloucestershire.
Their recovery has been glacially slow – in 2019 there’s thought to be just one more breeding pair than 2018.
But the RSPB says population modelling suggests that number will swell much faster soon, as fecundity of the surviving birds improves with age and second generation chicks reach breeding age.
Adult cranes stand at around 1.2m (4ft) and are fabled for their complex “display“ behaviour, where they perform bows, pirouettes and bobs.