Old Moor welcomes rare new arrivals

Avocet kneeling allowing chicks to find shelter under wing.
Avocet kneeling allowing chicks to find shelter under wing.
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A BIRD which was once extinct in the British isles has bred for the first time at a local sanctuary.

For the first time ever, avocet chicks have hatched at RSPB Old Moor. Staff and volunteers at the nature reserve near Barnsley waited nervously after three pairs of adults first arrived on April 25 to see if they would stay and breed.

And this week two chicks hatched and others are predicted to do the same in three or four days.

Kate Thorpe, assistant warden, said: “Avocets are the birds on the RSPB’s logo, so we’re doubly delighted these chicks have hatched on the reserve. At the moment, they are little more than bundles of fluff, but when they grow up they will be stunning to look at.

“They are instantly recognisable with their curved bill and black and white plumage. Visitors can easily see the parents and new chicks from two hides on the reserve.”

Avocets have been making a come-back in Britain since the 1940s, initially thanks to flooding for military defences, and since then, the breeding numbers have steadily increased on nature reserves across the country.

Kate said: “We go to great lengths to protect species at RSPB Old Moor and take this exciting event as a good sign that we’re doing the right thing.”