Egyptian goose chicks 'leap' from kestrel box nest

Egyptian goose in a kestrel box Image copyright Jane Bowen
Image caption The female Egyptian goose was spotted by Jane Bowen in January

Six Egyptian geese chicks survived a 20ft (6m) leap to the ground after they hatched inside a nest box designed for kestrels at a nature reserve.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, which runs Attenborough Nature Reserve, said they were "surprised" as geese are normally ground nesting birds.

Ranger Tim Sexton said he was "amazed" the adult geese managed to squeeze through the box's small entrance.

The goslings have arrived three weeks earlier than usual.

Image copyright Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
Image caption The geese were seen feeding elsewhere in the reserve

Photographer Jane Bowen said she saw the female "padding" in the box in January with the male keeping guard on the ground below.

She said this made her think the birds were nesting inside but there was no proof of this at the time.

However, when a family of Egyptian geese were seen feeding elsewhere on the reserve this week, staff inspected the box and discovered the nest.

Image copyright Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
Image caption The goslings hatched three weeks earlier than usual

Mr Sexton said: "I was amazed to think an adult Egyptian goose could even fit in there as the entrance is quite small.

"Then my thoughts turned to the goslings - and 20 feet above a patch of brambles, it made me wonder what it might be like, less than two days old and having to make the jump to the ground?"

The RSPB said Egyptian geese are often seen on ornamental ponds as well as gravel pits, lakes and wetlands, with the north Norfolk coast holding the highest numbers.

There are about 1,100 breeding pairs in the UK.

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