Cash for Cuckoos

01 Jun 2014 | No. 2014-35

Britain’s cuckoos are £300 better off, thanks to support from an initiative to get people out and about in their local area to watch birds.

Ryan Irvine from the Patchwork Challenge and
Charlotte Lancashire  of  Forest Optics handed over a
cheque for £300 to the British Trust for Ornithology
in Thetford

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), based in Thetford, Norfolk, received the money as part of the Patchwork Challenge from Meopta and Forest Optics to support its Cuckoo tracking project, now in its fourth year. Scientists at the BTO continue to follow satellite-tagged Cuckoos, as they migrate to and from their wintering grounds in Africa, to gain information that will help reverse the dramatic decline of this iconic bird.

The Patchwork Challenge project ran for the first time in 2013 and aimed to get people out in their local patches to watch and record any birds seen throughout the year. Three-hundred different bird species were seen from the Isles of Scilly to Shetland, and Meopta and Forest Optics donated £1 for each species.

Bonita Johnston, of the BTO said, “We really appreciate this support for the Cuckoo Tracking project. Finding out what might be driving their number down is vital if we are to reverse the decline, and it’s great to know business and birdwatchers have come together in this way to help this amazing bird.”

The BTO are currently following twenty-two Cuckoos, and thirteen have already begun their long journey to warmer climes. Three have made it into Spain, four are currently in northern Italy, and six are making their way through France, leaving nine here in the UK, including six birds in East Anglia.

Anyone can follow these birds as they undertake their amazing migration by visiting There is also the opportunity to sponsor your favourite bird and help secure their future.

Notes for Editors

  1. The BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to the BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Bangor (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. The BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations.
  2. The Patchwork Challenge was set up late in 2012 by a group of friends who set up a birdwatching scoring system based on the rarity of the bird seen. It ran for the first time last year, with the prize of a pair of Meopta binoculars given to the finder of the best bird.

    The money raised was given jointly by Meopta and Forest Optics, for matching the number of species identified through the challenge in 2013. The Patchwork Challenge is running again in 2014 across the UK and will be raising funds for the BTO's House Martin project.

Contact Details

Paul Stancliffe
(BTO Media Manager)

Office: 01842 750050
(9am to 5.30pm)
Mobile: 07585 440910 (anytime)
Email: press [at]

Images are available for use alongside this News Release.
Please contact images [at] quoting reference 2014-35

The BTO has an ISDN line available for radio interviews.
Please contact us to book an interview
Office: 01842 750050 

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