Young cranes released into the wild

Conservationists have successfully released 19 cranes into the wild after rearing them from chicks.

The youngsters, which were brought to the UK from Germany as eggs in April and May, were released on to the Somerset Levels and Moors.

The cranes will join 33 of the birds already in the wild across south-west England.

Great Crane Project, a partnership between the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, RSPB and Pensthorpe Conservation Trust, is managing the releases.

Project manager Damon Bridge said: "All went well and 18 birds left the aviaries straight away.

"The first out of the gate was the bird named Easter Beans and Blue Black Blue was the first to fly.

"One bird however, Evie, was a little unsure, and spent the night in the safety of the aviary but has since left the release enclosure and joined up with some of the older birds.

"Most have taken big flights up and above the pen - some landing outside and being led back in, and many flying out of their own accord and returning under their own steam."

Mr Bridge said the older birds released since 2010 have shown great interest in the new cranes.

"They have been flying over and landing nearby. It's going to be fascinating to watch how they all get on," he added.