Restoring the red-billed chough in Jersey
Not all of Durrell's island based conservation field programmes happen in far-flung, exotic locations! The Jersey Zoo was opened in 1959, and the Trust that ultimately became what we know as 'Durrell' founded in Jersey in 1963.
As well as the location of our headquarters, Jersey is the spiritual home of Durrell, and we are just as committed to preserving it's biodiversity, and saving it's species from extinction.
One species that became locally extinct around a century ago is the beautiful and charismatic 'sea-crow' known as the red-billed chough. These highly intelligent, free wheeling aerobats apparently left Jersey's rugged coasts as cliff top farming methods became less profitable, and thus less common. In the birds' heyday, there would have been hedge-bound grassy fields, grazed by sheep and cattle, and, importantly, a lot less bracken.
The onset of the rapidly growing invasive fern meant that many coastal birds - such as the distinctive yellowhammer, turtle dove, stonechat and cirl bunting - as well as the red-billed chough became much lesser seen, or no longer present at all.
Durrell, along with our 'Birds on the Edge' project partners The National Trust for Jersey and The States of Jersey Department of Environment, have committed to a long-term effort to restore areas of Jersey's coastal habitat back to its natural, rustic state. Not only will this benefit locals and visitors to Jersey, but the hope is that we will see the return of species of bird that would otherwise simply pass Jersey by in this day and age.
The red-billed chough has been chosen as a 'flagship' species, and Durrell staff ranging from maintenance to bird keepers to conservation biologists have been working extremely hard to re-introduce these incredible birds to Jersey's skies.
The full story, plus regular comprehensive updates (and even songs!) can be found at the projects own website: www.birdsontheedge.org - we highly recommend spending some time there!
- Durrell Team