Tagged Birds

Date: 2015-04-20 15:36:27 | Category: Bird Protection | Author: David Cole
Oh Dear! – That is three up for Mrs C!

For some reason my family enjoys the strange delight of being the first to hear the returning Cuckoos – and Mrs C reported hearing the first calls of one of these strange birds this week.

The light winds and warm temperatures during the last week provided the perfect conditions for migrant birds held up in southern Europe to continue their journeys north, and they did just that. Swallows, Willow Warblers and Ring Ouzels arrived in force. Cuckoos were heard from at least sixteen different counties, the most northerly near Manchester.

The British Trust for Ornithology monitors a number of Cuckoos using satellite-tracking of some individual birds – they tell me that we have lost over half of our usual population over the last 20 years. The BTO is a great organization and deserves all of our support – visit their website and follow the exploits of their Cuckoos – all of whom have names – here is an extract from their latest news of just a few:

Latest News

Fred in Ivory Coast - 17 Apr 2015

Fred has moved 1320km (820 miles) west from Nigeria and by the evening of the 16 was in Ivory Coast, just 14km (8 miles) from Emworthy's location.

Dudley second tagged Cuckoo to return to UK - 17 Apr 2015

Dudley remained in the area of the Pyranees until at least the 13 April and was crossing over France during the 15. Signals received around lunchtime on the 16 revealed he had made it back to the UK and was close to his breeding grounds in Sherwood Forest, where he was originally tagged. He becomes the second of our tagged Cuckoos to make it back to the UK.

Hennah reappears - back in the UK! - 17 Apr 2015

We last received a signal from Hennah's tag in late February from Sierra Leone, from where he had moved to on the 10 February. No further signals were received and we could tell the tag was not charging well so imagine our surprise when on the 15 April Hennah reappeared in the UK, north-east of Bournemouth, becoming the first Cuckoo to return home!

BTO scientist in charge of the project, Chris Hewson, explained that this lack of signals over the desert, when we might expect good exposure to the sun, could be down to the Sahara dust on the solar panels which meant the tag was unable to charge and send a signal. Exposure to rain later would then have washed this off and allowed the tag to transmit his recent location.

You can follow the progress of the BTO Cuckoos on the bto.org website which is an amazing source of bird news – well worth joining!

Robin Scrutch

Closer to home my Robin population is busy with their first nests of the season and distinct ‘pairs’ have become apparent – both male and female birds wear the same style of feathering, with red breasts – so the harmony is down to breeding and not the all-male sibling scrapping that we are used to having abated!