Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cuckoos on the move!

Given it was raining for most of yesterday , and it's raining this morning again, it suggests it might be another computer day if the electricity supply holds up ( that's another story! ).

Foremost amongst things of interest is reportage from the British Trust for Ornithology on some research it's conducting on Cuckoos. Basically the Cuckoo population has decreased by 65% in 25 years. Given we don't really know where they winter in Africa, efforts are being made to determine such information so that it can be established whether factors within the wintering areas are contributing to the decline or whether there are other reasons.

Birds have been trapped in Norfolk and Suffolk and tracking devices fitted to address this intriguing question. The devices weigh 4.5 to 5.5 grams and are only fitted to birds weighing over 115grams, so a very small amount of payload indeed given it's a question that's always asked. The devices cost £2500 each and there is a charge of £50 per month for tracking services.

Five birds are currently transmitting and they are proving to be extremely mobile to say the least. One bird has moved to Sussex and another has moved over to France!! Quite soon all adult Cuckoos will be departing the UK anyway so the journeys , routes and eventual wintering quarters of these birds are going to be extremely interesting. It's hoped the scheme proves to be a resounding success and finally unlocks the mystery of where these birds actually winter in Africa or whether they perhaps remain on the move during those months.

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