White stork chicks have hatched in the wild in the UK for the first time in centuries, the White Stork Project announced.
Eggs in one of three nests hatched at the Knepp Estate in West Sussex. Observers watched as the parents incubated the nest of five eggs located in an oak tree.They were seen removing eggshells from the nest and later regurgitating food for the chicks. The first egg hatched earlier this month.
It comes after the same pair of white storks unsuccessfully tried to breed at Knepp last year.
Lucy Groves, project officer for the White Stork Project, said: “It is incredible to have the first white stork chicks hatch in the wild for hundreds of years here at Knepp.
“These are early days for the chicks, and we will be monitoring them closely, but we have great hopes for them.
“This is just one step towards establishing this species in the South of England. It may be a small step, but it is an exciting one.
“This stunning species has really captured people’s imagination and it has been great following the sightings of birds from the project during the period of lockdown and hearing about the joy and hope they have brought to people.”
A combination of habitat loss, over-hunting and targeted persecution are likely to have contributed to their decline.
White Stork Project aims to restore a population of at least 50 breeding pairs of white storks in southern England by 2030.
Image Credit: Brad Albrecht/PA
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com