We last heard from Hennah in August, when his tag looked to be failing. Having not heard from him since we have to assume that ths is the case. At the time of the last locations he seemed to be alive and well.
Updates from our Cuckoos
Read the latest updates from our Cuckoos on their migration.
Hennah still missing
Still no news from Hennah
Even though we haven't heard from Hennah for a while now we still don't want to write him off, and hope that his tag will once again spring back into life.
Tag problems continue for Hennah
There have been no further signals from Hennah's tag since the middle of August. We think that his tag battery charge is to blame for this as it had dwindled even further before the last messages. The good news is that the temperature data indicated that he was still alive. Signals have been intermittant for some time and between February and April of this year we also went without signals, before he then surprised us by transmitting back in the UK safe and sound. Hopefully we will receive some more in future so that we can continue to follow his journey.
Hennah in Africa and across the Sahara
We've received good signals from Hennah's tag showing that he is not only in Africa but has already completed his crossing of the Sahara Desert and is now in Chad. He is the second Cuckoo to arrive in Africa this summer. Low quality signals were received on 12 July around lunchtime showing him in northern Libya and since then he has travelled 1825km (1130 miles) across the desert.
A good signal from Hennah
A good signal from Hennah on 29 June has shown that he continued on his flight south and is currently in central Italy, northwest of Pizzoli.
Hennah's tag failing
Hennah's tag battery is damaged and appears to be failing - consequently we have not received a good quality location from it recently although poor quality locations showed him in France on 16 June and heading south to Italy a few days ago.
Hennah reappears - back in the UK!
We last received a signal from Hennah's tag in late Februay from Sierra Leone, from where he had moved to on the 10 February. No further signals were received and we could tell the tag was not charging well so imagine our surprise when on the 15 April Hennah reappeared in the UK, north-east of Bournemouth, becoming the first Cuckoo to return home!
BTO scientist in charge of the project, Chris Hewson, explained that this lack of signals over the desert, when we might expect good exposure to the sun, could be down to the Sahara dust on the solar panels which meant the tag was unable to charge and send a signal. Exposure to rain later would then have washed this off and allowed the tag to transmit his recent location.
No recent signals from Hennah
Hennah has settled in an area of close rainforest in Gola Rainforest National Park - a world famous national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since he settled here, his tag has not been charging well, due presumably to the dense rainforest canopy. When we last received a signal from his tag the charge was low but the temperature showed that Hennah was alive and well as far as we can tell.
And they are off!
Two of our tagged Cuckoos are already moving west and are well on their way back to their breeding grounds in the UK!
Hennah had moved 2500km (1500 miles) to Ivory Coast by 8 February from a position on the northern forest edge on 6 February, low quality signals tell us, but by the 9 he had already continued west a further 820km (510 miles). He is now just inside the border of Sierra Leone in an area where the Lofa-Mano National Park and Gola North Forest Reserve meet, where presumably he will rest for a while after such a long journey in such a short amount of time.
Meanwhile, Ash was in Nigeria on the 8 February but by the 9 he was in Ghana, north of Lake Ghana and the Digya National Park.
Although this is not especially early for them to move into the region - in previous years we have seen the first cuckoos move to West Africa by mid-February - Hennah's stopover location especially is very far west for the date, as early stopovers tend to be further east. It is notable that both stopovers are within the humid forest zone, rather than to its north as most West African stopovers are - this could compensate for the birds being so far west at this time, before the savannahs in the area have been rained upon.
Lack of signals
Several of our Cuckoo tags have not sent transmissions for over 10 days; BB, Hennah, Peter, Skinner and Waller.
This means they are not currently shown on the main map by default, although can be switched on using the tick boxes under their photos. It's not uncommon for Cuckoos to disappear for up to several months during mid-winter as tag charging conditions in the forest are poor so we won't really know their fate unless we receive further transmissions. If they fail to move northwards when expected then either the Cuckoo may have died or the tag may failed or degraded. Our greatest concerns are still for Peter and Waller who were in the same area when signals were last received, all the way back in October.
Diversity in birding: why it matters
BTO's Jamey Redway reflects on diversity in birding, and how organisations like BTO play a role in making birding more inclusive.