Chris is the only tagged Cuckoo that has provided data for three consecutive years. Chris has given pioneering insight into Cuckoo wintering grounds, migration routes and speed of travel. Find out more about why we're celebrating Chris

Chris's journey from 01 May 2014 to 15 September 2014

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A period of recovery - 12 Sep 2014

With most cuckoos now in the Sahel region, we're entering a fairly quiet period in the annual cycle of the tagged cuckoos with less movement than during the migration season.

Birds who completed their desert crossing will spend time in the Sahel recovering their body condition, and some may stay quite a long time. In previous years, cuckoos have stayed in this area for as much as several months, while others spend a shorter amount of time before moving south into the humid zone forests.

The eastern Sahel in Chad and south Sudan has received plenty of rain recently, and thus conditions are likely good for cuckoos. Northern Cameroon was slightly drier than average in August, and so cuckoos such as Derek, Dudley, Stanley, and Emsworthy may be moving on if foraging conditions aren't suitable.

Chris returns to Lake Chad - 9 Sep 2014
Chris has finally crossed the Sahara and is now in the Lake Chad area. By the early morning of 4 September he was heading south over the Sahara in central Libya, suggesting he had left Sicily on the evening of 2 September. By late morning on the 6, he had completed his desert crossing and was at  his current location at the northern end of Lake Chad. From his northern Italy stopover to Lake Chad, Chris moved over 3,500 km over 5 days in his fourth successful autumn migration.
 
His current position in the Sahel is about 350 km further west than he was in 2011 and 2013 following his desert crossing, but is quite similar to his location following his 2012 crossing. These differences might potentially be attributed to wind drift. It remains to be seen whether Chris rejoins his previous routes south upon leaving Lake Chad, as he did in 2012. Chris will likely stay at his current position to recover condition following his migratory journey. In 2012, he was in the Lake Chad area for about a month before moving further south and east in Chad.
 
Chris alive and on the move - 3 Sep 2014
Chris has finally moved south from the lower Po valley! A series of signals received on 1 September show that he left soon after dark and that he was approaching the west end of Sicily around first light yesterday morning. We expect he will have remained on Sicily before leaving for his desert crossing yesterday evening or tonight. 
 
Chris is currently on a schedule about 6 weeks later than in previous years. We aren't sure why this is but one possible explanation is that he could have been struggling to accumulate the necessary fat deposits due to high parasite loads or some other reduction in body condition. Having been born in 2010, Chris is now quite old for a cuckoo - age-related declines in migratory performance have been noted in other migratory birds, such as Barn Swallows. 
Chris on a more relaxed schedule this year - 4 Aug 2014

In previous years, we've seen Chris be one of the first tagged Cuckoos in Africa but this year he seems to be on a much more relaxed schedule. His previous arrival dates in Africa were 23 July, 16 July and 24 July but right now he is still currently in Italy! It will be interesting to see whether this affects the rest of his journey or whether he just does the same route in a more leisurely fashion.  

Twenty-two birds still going strong - 25 Jul 2014

We are still following twenty-two birds. Currently two cuckoos are in France – Walpole and unnamed cuckoo 134957.

Five birds are in and around the Po Valley in northern Italy – BB, Chris, Stanley, Waller and Livingstone.

Six birds are in Spain – Two of these are big movers this week. After finally leaving the UK, Derek hasn’t hung around. After a brief stop in central-western France, he is now in central-northern Spain, just south of Tolbanos de Abajo. It is Maji that has provided the biggest surprise though. He seems to be taking a tour of the European mountain ranges. Having spent a time in the Austrian Alps, he is now in the central Pyrenees!

David is still in Montenegro and Ash is still in Croatia; both of these birds could make the move to Africa any day now.

We now have seven birds in Africa, six of them south of the Sahara. Emsworthy is the latest to arrive here and he is currently just south of Lake Chad, in an area that Chris also favours. Three other Cuckoos – Peter, Hennah and Dudley – are also close to Lake Chad.