East Anglia’s record breaking Cuckoo is off again!

13 Jul 2021 | No. 2021-33

PJ, the Suffolk-based satellite tag-wearing Cuckoo who recently completed his fifth whole migration to and from Africa, flying over 50,000 miles in doing so, is off again – he left Suffolk heading south on 9 July.

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) have been following PJ’s migrations closely since his satellite tag was fitted in King’s Forest on the Norfolk/Suffolk border in 2016. He has been migrating to and from the Congo rainforest each spring and autumn since then, clocking up over 50,000 miles and sending almost daily updates on his whereabouts to scientists at the BTO, information that will help identify the cause of their decline here in the UK. During the early morning of 9 July signals from his tag showed he was in the southwest of France on the southern edge of the Parc naturel des Landes de Gascogne, 600 miles from his Suffolk breeding site.
This year he is joined by a new East Anglian Cuckoo, Attenborough, tagged at Cranwich, Norfolk. Attenborough is proving to be a trailblazer and is already in Northern Spain, having left East Anglia in the last few days of June. Only one of the tagged Cuckoos is further south than Attenborough, Scottish Cuckoo Ellis has just crossed the Sahara desert and is in northern Nigeria close to the border with Niger. 
Paul Stancliffe, BTO Media Manager, said, “Since June, 2016, I have been out to PJ's breeding location each summer in a bid to find him and each summer I have been absolutely thrilled to do just that. He is an amazing bird and I was surprised to see him so active back in April this year in what has to be the coldest spring I have been out looking for him. He had only been back in the forest for two days and was already chasing other Cuckoos around his chosen spot and ‘cuckooing’ for all his worth from the treetops.”
He added, “I have to accept that this might be the last time I see him, both he and his tag are getting old but you never know, maybe I will be out saying hello to him again next spring.”
 Anyone can follow PJ, Attenborough and the other eight Cuckoos as they make their way south through Europe, across the Mediterranean and the Sahara on their way to the Congo basin at www.bto.org/cuckoos

Contact Details
Paul Stancliffe
 (BTO Media Manager)
Mobile: 07585 440910
Email: press [at] bto.org (subject: News%20release%20enquiry)

Mike Toms (Head of Communications)
Mobile 07850 500791
Email: press [at] bto.org (subject: News%20release%20enquiry)

Images are available for use alongside this News Release. These can be downloaded from this link for which you will need to enter the password EACuculus202133 alternatively, please contact press [at] bto.org quoting reference 2021-33

Notes for editors

About the Cuckoo project
 - Climate change is causing the timings of the spring season to change and there is evidence that many migrant species are not advancing their arrival times sufficiently to track the earlier spring. There is also some suggestion from previous studies that there are constraints in the migration timing of species wintering in or beyond the humid zone in Africa. Read more here
BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Belfast (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations. www.bto.org

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