The charge on both Chance and Tor’s tags was very low on the last transmission before they went 'missing’. We hope that like Tor’s, Chance’s tag will resume transmissions once it has been exposed to sunlight after he moves to a new location. If it does not, it is most likely that the battery completely discharged during the period that it was not charging sufficiently to transmit and subsequently perished. In previous years, the tracked cuckoos have mostly died during the main spring and autumn migrations between Europe and Africa, rather than during the mid-winter period, so battery failure would seem more likely than Chance dying during the period that his tag was uncharged.
We still have yet to hear news from either Chance or Tor, who had been in a similar area of dense cover close to the Gabon/Congo border, when their tags last transmitted.
If their respective batteries have not been receiving enough solar charge to power them over a long period of time there is a possibility that the battery may degrade and not be able to power up again. However, if they have been receiving some small charge during this time, though not enough to send a transmission, then once exposed to enough light, transmissions should start back up again. We continue to hope that like David, who went over 6 weeks without a tag transmission but recently re-emerged, Chance and Tor may reappear if and when they move northwards.
Still no news from Chance. However, despite not hearing from him since early December we haven’t given up on him. The last transmission showed that the tag temperature was as expected if he was alive; however, the battery charge was extremely low, so low that the tag must have stopped transmitting immediately afterwards.
The latest transmissions from Ken's tag show that he remains in Gabon, having arrived here on 25 October, and it's likely he will spend Christmas here.
This is also the last country from which we received a transmission from Scottish Cuckoo, Chance, in early December. We haven't heard from him since but, there could be a number of reasons for this, including the fact that the dense cover of vegetation could be stopping the solar-powered tag from receiving enough light to charge up and transmit a signal.
Interestingly, Tor, one of our Devon Cuckoos also last transmitted from this area at the end of November, although from slightly further south within Congo, and his tag has also yet to beam another signal to us. Many of our Cuckoos have had periods where they have 'dissapeared' for a period of time before reappearing, often having moved quite substantial distances as part of their migration, having spent time feeding up beforehand. We will have to wait and see whether further transmissions reveal more information.
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