The combination of clear readable prose and the relaxed familiarity of the authors with their subject makes the Cranes’ story interesting for all readers, not just ‘craniacs’ or Norfolk folk. Part One gives the timeline for the return of ‘The biggest bloody herons’ as breeding birds in the UK, while Part Two focuses on the history and management of the birds. There is a chapter detailing Cranes’ behaviour which can’t fail to interest any birder.
Behind the Cranes’ story is the human narrative of the conservation work that has gone into protecting them and their environment since 1979. False starts and dead ends are honestly described, reflecting current issues for conservationists – like culling of predators, protection from egg collectors, and the wisdom of hand-rearing wild birds. The dedication and patience of those watching over the nesting Cranes, and John Buxton’s love of these birds, is described without sentimentality.
In Part Three of the book, Nick Upton puts things into context, with a summary of the success that Cranes are having in Europe as a whole.