Scottish Cuckoos are go!

25 Jun 2021 | No. 2021-29

Three Cuckoos fitted with satellite tags by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) this spring have already left Scotland and begun their long journey south.

Columbus, Victor II and Ellis, all fitted with their satellite tags at Lochs Arklet and Katrine in Perthshire, are well into the first leg of their 5,000 mile journey south. Victor II is leading the way and is currently in northeast France, close to the border with Belgium and just to the north of Saint-Michel-sur-Ternoise, 502 miles (808km) southeast of Loch Arklet. He set off from Scotland on 11 June and was next heard from two days later in East Anglia, before heading southeast from here and crossing the English Channel at its narrowest point and heading into France.
Ellis was last seen in Scotland on the evening of 12 June before heading south and east and like Victor II, popping up in East Anglia just after breakfast on 13 June and then in the Netherlands during the late evening of 14 June. He initially arrived just to the south of Noordwijkerhout but didn’t hang around there, moving north and east the next day into Friesland, just to the north of Leeuwarden.
The third Scottish Cuckoo, Columbus, left Scotland during the evening of 17 June, stopping off for the day in Cumbria, close to the border with County Durham and then heading further south into Nottinghamshire. He is currently just to the west of Newark-on-Trent. All three were tagged in mid May. Right now they are at the beginning of their migration which will continue for the next 2-3 months
Dr Chris Hewson, Lead Scientist on the project at the BTO, said, “The journey that these three birds face is long and hazardous and it’s unlikely all will make it to their wintering grounds in the Congo rainforest, but we will be able to follow them to see how they fare. The information they provide is vital to help our understanding of why Cuckoos in Scotland are doing better than those in England and how this might help us reverse the decline there.”
He added, “Anyone can follow these birds in near real time at and journey with them as they move through mountain ranges and across seas and deserts as they make their way to the mighty Congo basin.”

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

Mike Toms (Head of Communications)
Mobile 07850 500791
Email: press [at] (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 Canorus202129 alternatively, please contact press [at] quoting reference 2021-29

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.

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