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Last Updated: Friday, 9 May, 2003, 08:58 GMT 09:58 UK
Rare chough chicks hatch
Choughs
Conservationists think there are three or four chicks in the nest

The first choughs to breed in Cornwall for 50 years have hatched chicks.

It is the second year running the birds have successfully nested at the Lizard Point site.

Conservationists believe three or four chicks are in the nest.

However they are not certain as the chicks are only a few days old and they do not want to get too close as it may frighten the adult birds away.

Experts believe this could be the start of a sustainable colony, but the choughs' rarity makes them a tempting target for illegal egg collectors.

Continual watch

Last year's batch of three chicks are still in the area and have been joined by another adult, possibly from Ireland or France.

The black-plumed birds - with red legs and a curving red beak - are a symbol of the county and have been made a tourist attraction in an attempt to protect them from illegal egg collectors.

A team of 60 volunteers has kept a continual watch on the nest.

In the 19th Century there were more than 100 pairs in the county.

But the bird vanished after its food source dried up because of a decline in clifftop grazing and the use of pesticides.




SEE ALSO:
Birds get round-clock protection
29 Mar 03  |  England
Rare choughs get VIP visit
08 Jul 02  |  England
Cornish emblem returns to nest
07 Feb 02  |  England


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