Family sets up home at WWT’s Welney Wetland Centre ... in a tractor engine

PUBLISHED: 14:15 27 May 2015 | UPDATED: 14:15 27 May 2015

Birds nest in tractor engine at  WWT Welney Wetland Centre.

Birds nest in tractor engine at WWT Welney Wetland Centre.

WWT Media Production

A tractor engine is out of action at the WWT Welney Wetland Centre thanks to a family of pied wagtails and their four chicks ... who have nested in the engine.

The pair of birds at the centre are busy raising their young family, which means using the tractor to cut the reserve has been put on temporary hold.

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 but the babies are almost ready to leave the nest and will soon be learning how to fend for themselves.

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.

Birds nest in tractor engine at  WWT Welney Wetland Centre. Birds nest in tractor engine at WWT Welney Wetland Centre.

“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.”

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 hides.

WWT Welney has also launched a new mission to film a year in the life of the Great Ouse Wetland.

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