First wild stork chicks to hatch in UK in centuries poised to emerge

The first wild stork chicks to hatch in Britain for centuries are expected to emerge next month after three pairs of the huge white birds built nests in West Sussex. Disdaining platforms constructed especially for them, the storks have created their stick nests in the heights of oak trees on the Knepp estate, the centre for a reintroduction project. White storks are traditionally thought to bring fertility and good luck but have been extinct as breeding birds in Britain since 1416, or possibly during the English civil war. More than 100 birds have been bred in captivity and released at three locations in West Sussex and Surrey, including Knepp, a 3,500-acre former dairy farm that was rewilded at the turn of the century. Knepp is close to the West Sussex village of Storrington, known as Estorchestone or “homestead of the white storks” in the Domesday Book. Storks are monogamous and last year a young pair laid three eggs in a treetop nest at Knepp but the eggs did not hatch. This year, cameras were rigged up beside this old nest but the couple constructed a new nest instead, in which they have laid five eggs. With four other birds having… Read full this story

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