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Chris the Cuckoo

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Chris the Cuckoo

Post  whitestarling on Thu Aug 27, 2015 6:17 pm

Britain's most famous Cuckoo has dropped off the radar

Chris has provided the British Trust for Ornithology much valuable data from his annual migrations
The satellite-tagged Cuckoo named Chris after wildlife presenter Chris Packham, seems to be missing in action the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) reported last week.
Chris, who was fitted with a satellite-tag in 2011, has been providing scientists with ground-breaking information on Cuckoo migration for longer than any of their other tagged cuckoos.
This year e left Britain on 4th July on his annual migration to Africa, arriving at his usual stop-over site in the Po valley, northern Italy on 16th July.
On arrival however, Chris will have faced a tough time because the region has been experiencing its worst drought in years.
The lack of rain is likely to have limited vegetation growth and reduced the availability of caterpillars, the preferred food of Chris and other Cuckoos, which is bad news for those British Cuckoos who use this area to fatten up.
They need this period of stocking up their resources to give them the energy to make a successful crossing of the Sahara Desert.
Several of BTO’s tagged Cuckoos, Chris included, spent a much shorter time in northern Italy than usual, suggesting they found the conditions there unfavourable.
The satellite-tag revealed that Chris left northern Italy but now appears to be 'missing in action' in the middle of the Sahara Desert.
Phil Atkinson, BTO scientist on the Cuckoo project says, “British Cuckoos have had a rough time this year with poor weather here in the UK and on their usual stop-over sites in northern Europe.
"A series of poor signals from Chris’s tag show that he has made it to the Tibesti mountains in northern Chad but he seems to have been here for around eight days.
"This is very worrying as he normally crosses the desert in a day or two, stopping on the shores of Lake Chad in the south of the country and on the southern edge of the desert.
"At this stage we are very concerned about him and wait with baited breath for further signals which will tell us whether he is still alive or not..
"Chris is a very special bird for us and we have our fingers crossed that his tag will transmit new information from a different location very soon."
Chris Packham, comments: "Chris has rewarded the BTO with its highest honour - important new reliable data - and has revolutionised the way we understand migration .
"And, if he has fallen in action then 'In some corner of a foreign desert that is for ever Cuckoo. There shall be in that gold sand a richer dust concealed'. But let's hope not!"


If I can make somebody smile, my day has been worthwhile

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Join date : 2009-12-26
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Re: Chris the Cuckoo

Post  Laikipia on Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:19 am

Thanks WS.  I heard about that somewhere, probably at Birdfair, fingers crossed Chris the cuckoo is safe somewhere.

I did love Chris Packham's comment Very Happy


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