Birds nest in tractor engine at Welney

The birds within the nest in the tractor PICTURE: Adam Finch
The birds within the nest in the tractor PICTURE: Adam Finch
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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.

The nest within the tractor at Welney PICTURE Adam Finch

The nest within the tractor at Welney PICTURE Adam Finch

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.”

The tractor which is now home to a nest PICTURE Adam Finch

The tractor which is now home to a nest PICTURE 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.