Worcestershire Cuckoos are go!

05 Jul 2021 | No. 2021-32

Three Worcestershire Cuckoos fitted with satellite tags by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) this spring are at the start of a 5,000 mile journey south that will help scientists understand why their numbers in the UK are falling.

Calypso, Clive and Harry, were fitted with their satellite tags at the Wild Goose Nature Reserve and at Ripple, Worcestershire. One of them, Calypso, is proving to be a trailblazer and is already in southern France, just to the west of the town of Istres on the southern edge of the Reserve Naturelle des Coussouls de Crau, 686 miles south-east of his tagging site.
Both Harry and Clive are still moving around their tagging site in Worcestershire but it won’t be long before they too begin their migration to the Congo basin. It will be interesting to see if they make their way there via Italy or Spain.
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 England are declining faster than in other parts of the UK and how this information might help us reverse the decline.”
He added, “Anyone can follow these birds and the other eight tagged Cuckoos in near real time at www.bto.org/cuckoos 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.”

The satellite tags were funded by Severn Trent Water, who also allowed BTO scientists access to sites to catch Cuckoos, along with Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and Stuart Brown.

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 WCuculus202132 alternatively, please contact press [at] bto.org quoting reference 2021-32

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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