Italy - The journey south

Cuckoo with satellite tag. Photograph by BTO

Cuckoo with satellite tag.

While some birds make their migratory journey in a single flight, many others make one or more stops along the way to rest and refuel. These ‘stopover’ sites may be particularly important, with generations of birds using the same sites year after year. Once such stopover site is the Po watershed in northern Italy, an area that we know from satellite tracking is used by some of our UK Cuckoos.

During summer 2015, Dr Chris Hewson the scientist leading on our Cuckoo-tacking research – accompanied Federico Gemma, a Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) artist, to the Po watershed. During their time on the watershed Chris and Federico caught up with migrant birds, as well as some locally-breeding species, attempting to capture a sense of the interchange of birds passing through the area and of the habitats the birds use.

Some of the artwork from the trip was exhibited at the SWLA’s annual exhibition – The Natural Eye – at the Mall Galleries and more of the artwork will be used in the Flight Lines book, due to be published in August 2017.