Sussex

First wild white stork chick 'in centuries' hatches in UK

Storks nest Image copyright Brad Albrecht
Image caption The first chick hatched on 6 May, the White Stork Project says

A wild white stork chick has hatched in the UK for the first time in what is believed to be hundreds of years.

Three nests containing eggs were being monitored at the Knepp Estate in West Sussex.

In one nest, five eggs were laid and the parents were seen incubating them before removing eggshell from the nest.

The parents, which were thought to have attempted to breed last year, have been seen regurgitating food for their offspring.

Image copyright Brad Albrecht
Image caption The same pair are thought to have failed to hatch their eggs last year

The project to breed wild white storks in the UK is a partnership of private landowners and conservation organisations.

It aims to restore a population of at least 50 breeding pairs across the south of England by 2030.

About 250 birds are being released in Sussex after a successful breeding programme at the Cotswold Wildlife Park near Burford, Oxfordshire.

Sounds of the Middle Ages

Lucy Groves, project officer for the White Stork Project, said: "After waiting 33 days for these eggs to hatch, it was extremely exciting to see signs that the first egg had hatched on 6 May.

"The parents have been working hard and are doing a fantastic job, especially after their failed attempt last year."

She said the nest would be inspected more closely over the next few days to determine how many of the five eggs had hatched successfully.

Isabella Tree, owner of the Knepp Estate, said she was looking forward to the storks "bill-clattering" on their nests.

"It feels like a sound from the Middle Ages has come back to life."

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