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Cuckoo clocks up 60,000 miles

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Cuckoo clocks up 60,000 miles

Post  whitestarling on Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:05 pm

Chris the Cuckoo clocks up 60,000 miles

news/Chris_the_cuckoo
Chris, the globe-trotting Cuckoo

Since being fitted with a satellite tag by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) four years ago, Chris, a Cuckoo named after naturalist and TV presenter Chris Packham, has travelled over 60,000 miles – the equivalent of flying twice round the world. And in his journeys he’s taken in 22 different countries!

The UK’s Cuckoo population has dropped by 72 per cent in the last 25 years. In order to find out what’s driving this decline, the BTO fitted an original five Cuckoos with state of the art tags to enable them to follow the birds as they made their way out of Britain to Africa for the winter. The tags were believed to have a lifespan of two or three years.

Of the first five, Chris is the only Cuckoo still transmitting live data, far exceeding the expectations of the scientists. He is currently in the Congo rainforest, having arrived at his favoured winter spot on 25 October.

Dr Chris Hewson, lead scientist on the project at the BTO, says, “Chris the Cuckoo is a real hero of ornithology. The tag he is carrying has helped us to understand the pressures that he and our Cuckoos face on what is a pretty hazardous migration to Africa.

“He has survived sand storms, hail storms, an exceptionally cold, wet summer, predators over the Mediterranean and in the Congo rainforest, and has crossed the Sahara Desert a whopping seven times since we started following him. We have everything crossed in the hope that he makes it back next spring.”

Chris Packham says, “Chris deserves a medal for what he has given to the understanding of bird migration; he is a truly remarkable bird.

“But even more remarkable is the way in which BTO scientists use the very latest technology to produce contemporary science and then communicate it to a wide audience. It would be so easy to lose this in scientific journals but thanks to the BTO we can all watch enthralled as Chris and all of the other satellite tagged Cuckoos make their way across the globe.

“I’m rooting for all of them and can’t wait until they begin their return journeys back to the UK next spring.”

You can follow Chris, and 15 other satellite tagged Cuckoos on the BTO’s website. If you are looking for a Christmas gift with a difference, you can sponsor one of the BTO Cuckoos for as little as £10.00 and help to inform Cuckoo conservation.

WS

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Re: Cuckoo clocks up 60,000 miles

Post  Laikipia on Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:06 am

http://i73.servimg.c That's great news, I wondered what had happened to those cuckoos, they weren't mentioned on Autumnwatch as far as I remember and it's wonderful to know that Chris is still transmitting data.

Thanks for that WS.

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