Follow that cuckoo - BTO cuckoos heading south28/06/2013 08:57:20 A lot has been learned, but there is still plenty to find out
June 2013. The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) have just launched the Cuckoo class of 2013, as part of their exciting research into the decline of this iconic bird, and they are already on their way to Africa. Sussex the Cuckoo was the first to leave on June 15 and he has now been joined by four other Cuckoos. There are now two birds in northern France, one in Belgium, one in the Netherlands and one in northern Italy.
3rd year of cuckoo tracking
Since 2011, the BTO have been fitting satellite tags to Cuckoos in different parts of the UK with the aim of finding out what Cuckoos do once they leave for the winter months, and the information that these intrepid birds have provided has been a real eye-opener. Before 2011 the wintering location of British Cuckoos was unknown but these birds have shown that our Cuckoos spend the winter in and around the Congo Rainforest, arriving there in September and leaving again, via West Africa, in February.
New birds tagged
The new birds have been given names, amongst which are Whortle, Livingstone and Waller. They are named by sponsors, often reflecting the area in which they were caught. The names not only help the BTO raise essential funds, to ensure that this vital project can be carried out, they also make it easier for the public to identify with the individual birds undertaking these epic journeys.
Rachel Gostling, Supporter Development Officer for the BTO said, "Thank you to everyone who has supported this project and helped us to learn a huge amount about Cuckoo migration. This new information will be vital in understanding the challenges faced by our Cuckoos. In the two years of the project, Cuckoos have experienced very different weather conditions during their migratory journeys and have reacted very differently. It's important to continue following these birds over a number of years to gain a good understanding of migrations in different environmental conditions."
The Broads Authority, a vital contributor to the project, is one of our Cuckoo Champions and has named one of the Cuckoos, Nelson. Andrea Kelly of the Authority said, "We asked members of the public to name our sponsored cuckoo. Nelson was the winning name. Nelson the famous Admiral was a Norfolk man and one of Britain's greatest heroes. He was brought up in Norfolk and travelled many thousands of miles full of danger and risk to life, very much like Nelson the Cuckoo."
Sponsor a cuckoo