Bird-lovers are celebrating some very rare new arrivals at a west Norfolk reserve.

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Two pairs of common cranes have become parents and chosen to raise their chicks in the heart of the RSPB’s Lakenheath Fen.

The birds have made the reserve, near Hockwold, their home since 2007 and in 2009 one pair made history when it successfully raised the first crane chick in the Fens for more than 400 years.

Since then a further two have flown the nest.

RSPB warden, Katherine Puttick, said: “It’s fantastic to have the cranes nesting here again, however, they are very secretive and it’s quite challenging to get a glimpse of the chicks, who are currently the size of a long-legged chicken.

“The period between hatching and fledging is a tense time for us as the young are very vulnerable, being unable to fly or get away from danger. We are keeping everything crossed that both pairs are successful this year.”

Although adults stand nearly five-feet tall and have eight foot wingspans, they are difficult to observe while nesting. They often stay nestled within the reedbed, flying only occasionally between feeding sites.

People can visit the reserve, which is open at all times, and the visitor centre is open daily from 9am to 5pm. RSPB members can park for free and others will pay £2 per car. For more information call 01842 863400 or e-mail lakenheath@rspb.org.uk.

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