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.

Thursday 25 July 2013

German cuckoo satellite tagging programme – Where do German cuckoos go?

German cuckoos tracked for the first time
July 2013. The first Bavarian Cuckoo, fitted a few weeks ago with a mini satellite transmitter, has reached the Africa. Until now, it has remained a mystery as to exactly where the cuckoos head to, or by which route, when they leave Germany after their brief three months stay. Thanks to the international project can now for the first time both the conservationists and the general public watch live on the internet, draw routes on which the popular birds with their high-tech backpacks in the south and where they reside there until the next spring.

A cuckoo known as "Richard" was tracked to eastern Libya, an area mainly dominated by desert. From his capture in Bavaria his route led him initially to Switzerland, then down through the Italian boot and finally over the Mediterranean. Among the 13 cuckoos given satellite tags in Germany, two animals were in Italy and four in the Balkans.

Several cuckoos, as part of the same project, were tagged in Belarus, with some interesting results. They appear to be heading for the same part of Africa, by very different routes, including one that flew south via the Arabian Peninsula, Eritrea and Sudan.

Why they spend time there, when soon the birds will move on on completely different routes to Africa, only to meet again in Africa, are the interesting questions to which the international telemetry project aims to find answers in the coming days, weeks and months.

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