More than three centuries after it disappeared from Ireland, the common crane, a bird that is part of its folklore and was a popular pet during medieval times, has returned to the island nation.
About Common Crane
- The birds are in Ireland’s Midlands region, but their exact location has been kept secret to protect them.
- The common crane is typically seen in Ireland during the winter, but is not sighted during the breeding season.
- Cranes stand at 4 feet tall with a wingspan of over 7 feet, and used to be the largest birds in Ireland. They are connected with the history and culture of the country, featuring in folklore tales and in the names of towns. Although they were once common, the destruction of their habitat saw them disappear around the 16th and 17th century.
- The cranes were spotted on land belonging to Bord na Móna, a semi-state company known for extracting peat fuel from bogs in the region.
- Also known as the Eurasian crane, is a bird of the family Gruidae, the cranes.
Why is bog restoration important?
- Bogs (also called quagmires) are soft, spongy wetlands that accumulate peat– a fossil fuel that is used for heating homes and businesses in northern Europe.
- They are formed in northern climates, and take thousands of years to develop.
- Bogs also act as carbon sinks, sequestering around 200 million tons of carbon from the environment in Siberia and Scandinavia.
- For centuries, however, they have been drained for extracting peat or for development, leading to the destruction of their delicate ecosystems, including damage to species such as cranes that breed here.
Common Crane (Grus grus) in India
- Leucistic common crane, a rare white color bird, was sighted near Gandhidham in Kutch during December, 2020.
- Apart from common cranes, Gujarat is also home to demoiselle cranes. The common crane tarried a while at a wetland close to the famous Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, a Ramsar site in Gujarat.
- The common crane that is locally known as kunj in Gujarat, is a winter visitor to India, and usually arrives with thousands more to the arid plains of Western India, especially in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
- Gujarat due to its geographic location and with its unique habitats holds a prominent position in Central Asian Migratory Bird Flyway and is an important wintering destination of several migratory bird species. Along with the common crane, the demoiselle crane also spends its winters in the state.
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