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The Norfolk Cranes’ Story

John Buxton and Chris Durdin

Now in paperback (since 2019). Available by post - see Buy the book - the easy way to buy.

This book – first published in hardback in July 2011 – tells the story of how cranes bred at Horsey in Norfolk, and how they were protected and studied there.

Cranes in flightThe cranes’ story starts with their arrival at Horsey in 1979. Their first nesting attempt was in 1981 and the first chick fledged in 1982.

From this slow start in the Broads, the re-colonisation of this iconic wetland bird is now taking small but steady steps forwards elsewhere in the UK.

Their guardian at Horsey was John Buxton. Much of what we know about cranes in the UK was contained in John’s memory and notebooks.

The co-author is Chris Durdin from Honeyguide Wildlife Holidays and for many years on the RSPB's staff. With John providing the information and Chris doing the writing, this was how the book was completed.

This website also has news and information about cranes. This includes a selection of resources and reference material on our links page, with those who manage land for cranes in mind.

"Quite simply, it is splendid." Mike Everett in British Birds, September 2011. See reviews.

"... a heartening and enthralling narrative." Richard Mabey in BBC Wildlife. See reviews.

"... an interesting and inspiring read."
Broads Society, Harnser, January 2012.

"... entertainingly relayed ... a definitive account of their story has long been overdue and this book fills the gap admirably.
Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

BTO: "The combination of clear readable prose and the relaxed familiarity of the authors with their subject makes the Cranes’ story interesting for all readers".
See web reviews.

WWT: "an excellent new book". See reviews.

About the book: more here>.

See inside! Here are some preview pages of the book. Click to view.

News and reviews

News here; reviews here.

80 pairs of breeding cranes in the UK in 2023, 36 fledged. See news.

Hortobágy, Hungary: bird flu kills thousands of cranes. See news.

Cranes nest at RSPB Strumpshaw Fen, four pairs in Lincolnshire. See news.

A crane with a rubber ring on its beak - blog.

Cranes fledge on Suffolk coast for first time, 2022. See news.

Would you like to try to see cranes in Norfolk? Contact us

258,358 cranes in Spain, January 2022. See news.

Cranes in Scotland, paper in British Birds, July 2021. Crane from Finland in Norfolk; cranes in Ireland, see news.

Crane footprints from around 8,000 years ago: see news.

Cranes book contributes £200 to NWT appeal to buy freehold of Hickling nature reserve: more in news.

List of blogs about cranes on the news page.

Dust jackets: sometimes these tear, of course. If you have a copy and need a replacement jacket, we can supply one free of charge.

Cranes' story on BBC Countryfile, February 2016: more in news.

Cranes in Gallocanta

Talks about The Norfolk Cranes' Story: see news. See also Cranes on film.

Horsey cranes 2011-2013. John Buxton 1927-2014.
See news.

Madeira firecrestThe 1982 male (left) and 1983 female (right)

Available in the USA and Germany: see Buy the book.

The Norfolk Cranes' Story was shortlisted for the Eastern Daily Press / Jarrold East Anglian Book Awards. More here>.

Jarrold best seller! No 1 in the chart. More here>.

Updated February 2024