As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Fifteen cuckoos tagged in BTO's 2014 research programme

This summer there will be 15 cuckoos, each fitted with satellite tags, being monitored on their migration journeys to and from Africa by researchers from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

They are part of an ongoing tracking project that the BTO has been running since 2011 to understand the pressures on the birds and why cuckoo numbers have declined by half over the last 15 years and continue to fall. The tags have been fitted to male birds in East Anglia, Sherwood Forest, Dartmoor, The New Forest and Ashdown Forest, as they are larger than females and better suited for carrying the extra slight weight. 

The tags have so far provided information new to science. Researchers have discovered that some birds stay in Britain for only about a month each year; that they overwinter in the Congo rainforest; and that each bird uses a different route to get there and back. The initial findings, however, have posed further questions and so, as the project moves into its fourth year, the scientists are aware that there is even more to learn about what influences the successes and failures of the birds' migration. Eventually, this learning will inform what steps need to be taken to improve their chances and save them from becoming further endangered.

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