Page last updated at 19:22 GMT, Monday, 30 June 2008 20:22 UK

Hopes high for future of choughs

The chough is a symbol of Cornwall

Hopes are rising for the future of choughs in Cornwall after a new pair of the rare birds started to breed.

The choughs, at a nesting site at West Penwith, are believed to be the first breeding pair there in 150 years.

The only other known breeding pair in England are on the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall.

The Cornish Chough Project said the latest pair represent a "significant chapter" in the natural re-colonisation of the bird.

Jon Brookes, National Trust Manager for West Penwith, said: "We are thrilled with this new development in our ongoing efforts to encourage the natural re-colonisation of the chough to Cornwall.

"A new pair breeding in the west of the county is great news and their success is down to the local farmers and the RSPB volunteers who put in all the time and effort into safeguarding the nests from disturbance."

'Model parents'

The black-plumed birds which are a symbol of Cornwall, first returned to the county in 2001 after a 50-year absence when a pair settled near the Lizard.

That pair also bred again this year and have had four female chicks.

Claire Mucklow, who manages the Cornwall Chough Project said: "Each year we hope the Lizard pair will breed again and so far they have not disappointed us.

"They are model parents and continue to produce strong healthy chicks."

The Cornwall Chough Project is a partnership between Natural England, The National Trust and the RSPB to protect the wild chough population, and to promote chough friendly farming of the cliffs.

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