There are plenty of blogs written by complete cuckoos, so this one makes a pleasant change. Short blogs are tracking the progress of five cuckoos - Clement, Martin, Lyster, Kasper, and Chris - as they make their way from the UK to Africa.
After receiving only two messages from Clement’s tag this month and no accurate fixes, it was a relief and a surprise when his tag began transmitting yesterday afternoon. Even more surprising was the fact that he was in Spain, having moved 640km (400 miles) WSW from his previous position!
Satellite tracking is becoming an increasingly important tool for understanding bird migration, and the British trust for Ornithology is tracking five cuckoos this year from their British breeding grounds to the wintering sites in Africa. You can follow each of the cuckoos on their journey (although one is reluctant to leave Norfolk - understandable I suppose) across Europe into Africa.
Ringing has been the traditional way of gathering migration and distribution information, but it is severely limited by the the limited chance of recovering a ring or re-trapping a ringed bird. Whilst this can be partially overcome by mass ringing of hundreds or thousands of birds from a particularly species, the limitation of only getting information from the start and end of the journey means that much useful information is missed. Various forms of live tracking have been developed over recent years which have enabled information to be gathered on the exact journeys undertaken by birds across the world. Sea birds such as Manx Shearwaters with their extraordinary travels around the Atlantic Ocean, have been followed whereas previously their rings would have been seen on shore and never again.
For further information and to support this important work visit bto.org.
Well done to BTO. Well done to Clement.