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Updates from our Cuckoos

Read the latest updates from our Cuckoos on their migration.

Attenborough wings his way through France

02 Jul 2021
Over the last 48 hours Norfolk Cuckoo Attenborough has left Normandy and headed south. By 10 am this morning (Friday 2nd July) he had flown 619 km (385 miles) south and was between Bayonne and Hasparren in the Basque Country region of south west France. This movement puts him just south of Calypso who is 513 km east of him, near Marseille. 

JAC moves south

29 Jun 2021
Since crossing the Channel JAC has flown a further 133 km (83 miles) south east and has spent the last few days around Maintenon, approximately 64km south west of Paris. 

Calypso blazes south

28 Jun 2021
Over the last few days Calypso has flown 745 km (464 miles) from his last location near Caen in Normandy to the south of France. He made the journey in two stages, first flying 565 km (351 miles) to stop-over briefly close to the village of Grandrieu in the Lozère department in southern France. The next day (Sunday 27th June) he was on the move again, flying a further 181 km (113 miles) south east to his current location in the outskirts of the city of Istres. Will he cross to northern Africa from here or turn west over Spain? Stay tuned for the next update to find out!

Introducing Daniel

25 Jun 2021
The first bird caught during this catching session was a female Cuckoo, followed by a Meadow Pipit, these were ringed and let go. After a long wait a male Cuckoo came flying in followed by another Meadow Pipit and swiftly followed by another male Cuckoo – they are like buses! Both Cuckoos were within the weight range required for tagging but we only had one tag left to fit. Since being tagged, Daniel has remained close to his tagging location.

JAC makes it to France

25 Jun 2021
Having spent a few days near Barnard's Green in Worcestershire, JAC has flown 340 km (211 miles) south-east across the English Channel, arriving in Normandy yesterday morning. He is close to Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Taille.

Calypso crosses the Channel

25 Jun 2021
Calypso has safely crossed the English Channel and by 04:13 yesterday morning he had arrived in Normandy. In the hours since has been exploring the area between the villages of Mouen and La Valette, just west of Caen.

Introducing AJ

18 Jun 2021

AJ was caught at the edge of RSPB Budby Common on the evening of 27th May. The team’s spirits were dampened a little when there was no response to the Cuckoo sound tape initially but after a while, a male and a female Cuckoo were heard approaching the nets. Soon after they checked the nets and found both birds in them! As night was approaching, they worked quickly to tag the male bird before darkness fell. As the team sat in the car under the forest canopy working under artificial light, a Tawny Owl called nearby, causing the Cuckoo to flinch markedly – a good reminder of the dangers these birds face throughout their lives. Since being tagged AJ has made the journey south across the Channel into northern France where he is approximately 80 km (50 miles) west of Paris.

Introducing Grove

18 Jun 2021

Grove was tagged in early June when we were getting to the end of the Cuckoo catching season. An early start was called for so we were on site at Wheatfen Nature Reserve in the Norfolk Broads by 3:30am. Nets were put up with the chorus of a reeling Grasshopper Warbler and a booming Bittern in the background, and we put the stuffed cuckoo out and played the sound lure. Two Cuckoos were immediately interested and started Cuckooing but did not come any closer for about 20 minutes. We were not entirely sure we were going to catch and another 20 minutes passed. Then the bird launched off its perch and flew towards the net, and we didn't see it come out the other side - these moments of "Is it in the net?" or "Is it just sat on a bush next to the net?" are agonising. The cuckooing sound had stopped which was a good sign. We looked at each other and edged gingerly towards the nets. As we got closer, we saw it in the net - time to run! 

Tagging the bird was very straightforward although this was the first time we have tagged a bird in a public toilet. The toilet was ideal - spacious and airy, and with all the facilities you could need. After tagging, we emerged into the car park where the bird flew off strongly. We were done by 05:45 and it was a real privilege as always to be up and about before anyone else in such an amazing place. A big thank you to Will Fitch, the warden of Wheatfen Nature Reserve, for allowing us to catch and tag a bird there.

Introducing Harry

17 Jun 2021

Harry was caught during the same session as Clive. Having seen a bird fly into the net, BTO tagger Lee Barber started running towards the net but the bird escaped, so he walked back to the car. Then the bird went in again, so Lee started running, got half way there but it got out again! The team decided to close their nets and as they were walking towards them a Cuckoo came flying straight in. The highs and lows of catching Cuckoos! Since being tagged Harry has remained at his breeding grounds in Worcestershire.

Introducing Clive

17 Jun 2021

Clive was caught during an early morning session during less than ideal conditions, with the wind blowing and forecast for it to increase to gale proportions in a few hours’ time. A Cuckoo soon came to investigate but flew away. Hopes were dashed but the tagging team kept their nets open and it wasn’t long before a Cuckoo flew towards the nets and straight in! Clive has remained at this site in Worcestershire since being tagged.


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