Two common cranes have successfully hatched two chicks at a rewetted peatland, following a previous successful breeding attempt last year.

Bord na Móna said the pair returned and hatched the chicks several weeks ago, adding that a third crane is using several other Bord na Móna sites.

Some of these peatlands have been rewetted through the Peatlands Climate Action Scheme last year.

There is "great excitement" among the ecology team over the development, as it believes the third young adult may have been a chick from the original pair of cranes, or an Irish-bred bird.

The discovery and return of cranes nesting on two peatlands is of great significance as this species has not bred in Ireland for 300 years and was thought extinct, Bord na Móna said.

It is hoped it now may return as a breeding species.

The precise location of the cranes is being kept confidential in order to protect and conserve the birds and avoid disturbance.

Lead Ecologist at Bord na Móna Mark McCorry said: "It is particularly significant that these are some of the first cranes born here in centuries."

He believes the developments are indication that the right conditions for the birds and other biodiversity have been created.

"Getting to see this bird slowly flying low over the new wetlands has been a highlight for me this year," he said.

Rehabilitation commenced on 18 peatlands in 2021 and works on another 19 are commencing this year.

During the first year of the programme, Bord na Móna undertook the rewetting of some 8000 hectares of peatland.