Page last updated at 23:19 GMT, Monday, 19 May 2008 00:19 UK

Ravens at home in castle rafters

Raven chicks
A number of chicks have successfully fledged in the castle

The rafters of a 14th Century castle in south west Scotland are proving a popular nesting site for ravens.

Four chicks were successfully fledged last year at Threave Castle near Castle Douglas and a further three survived this spring.

The birds first appeared in 2007 in the Great Hall of the building owned by the National Trust for Scotland.

The area was closed off to protect the nesting site and the birds returned again to their castle home this year.

NTS ranger, Rhiannon Hatfield, said she hoped the area could be popular with the birds for some time to come.

She said: "We are so pleased that the ravens returned to Threave this year.

"They are a pretty unusual visitor and the fact that they have bred successfully both times is great news.

"It bodes well for a return next year."

The ravens have now left the castle but a wide range of other wildlife can be seen from a number of viewing areas nearby.

Threave Castle was built in the 1370s by Archibald, 3rd Earl of Douglas, on an island in the River Dee.

Known historically as Archibald the Grim he constructed the tower to protect Galloway from English attacks.

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