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27 May 2015

Birds nest in tractor engine

Chick in nest by Adam Finch

Chick in nest by Adam Finch

UPDATE – The chicks fledged successfully on Thursday 28 May 2015!

A tractor engine might not be your first choice when thinking of a place to raise a family. However, a pair of birds at WWT Welney Wetland Centre have done just that.

Staff at the centre were surprised to find a pair of pied wagtails and their four chicks tucked into the engine of the reserve tractor. Using the tractor to cut the reserve has temporarily had to be put on hold, but the chicks are almost ready to leave the nest now and will soon be learning how to fend for themselves from mum and dad.

Louise Clewley, Reserve Warden, said:

‘I first noticed the adults had bills filled with insects so I knew they must have a nest nearby. I checked all the obvious places like the open-fronted nest box, in amongst the nettles and crawled around the trailer. But I found that they had actually chosen the engine of the tractor.

‘These small black and white birds have a habit of wagging their tail even when standing still. Visitors can normally get quite close to the pairs that nest along the bridge, unlike these guys who wanted to stand out from the crowd.’

Tractor by Adam Finch

Tractor by Adam Finch

Visitors can see birds feeding their young on the whole reserve, with house martins above the hide windows, great tits using traditional nest boxes and swallows inside the actual hides.

WWT Welney has launched a new mission to film a year in the life of the Great Ouse Wetland. Venturing beyond the regions impressive skyline, beneath the waters colourful depths and into a landscape rich with biodiversity. This project is part of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme and supported with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.