With no further news from Chris the Cuckoo, whose last transmission was from the middle of the desert, we have to conclude that he has sadly died. Chris was satellite-tagged in spring 2011 and we have been following his journey for the last four years as he traveled to and from Africa. See our celebration of Chris' journey and just how much he has contributed to our understanding of Cuckoo migration.
We are still receiving poor quality signals from Chris that show he is still just north of the Tibesti Mountains in northern Chad. He has been here for almost four weeks and although we have no direct evidence that he has died, it seems unlikely that he would stay there for that length of time even though the area has recently received some rainfall. It may be that after over four years of following Chris's journey it may have come to an end.
We haven't received any good quality locations for Chris since 3 August, although poor quality signals do indicate that he left Italy shortly after this and was crossing the Mediterranean Sea on the 5 August.
The Po Valley in Italy is Chris's usual stopover site, however, the region is experiencing its worst drought in years, and given the short length of time our Cuckoos have spent here this year, has presumably led to a shortage of caterpillars.
A series of poor signals from Chris’s tag show that he has made it to the Tibesti mountains in Northern Chad by 8 August, but no good signals have been received to confirm this and elevate his location so that it is visible on the public maps. He seems to have been here for around eight days which is very worrying as he normally crosses the desert in a day or two, stopping on the shores of Lake Chad in the south of the country and on the southern edge of the desert.
At this stage we are very concerned about him and, given the conditions in Italy, we fear that he may not have been able to take on the amount of food needed to prepare for, and successfully complete, the journey. Both Peckham and Larry also stopped in the mountain area and continued on to complete their crossing of the desert, though neither spent as long as Chris has in the area.
Chris has continued south and is now in northern Italy, just east of Ferrara. Poor quality signals indicate that he journeyed to Slovenia from Germany, and then on to Italy.
Chris's stay in the Netherlands was quite short this year. A signal during the early evening on 7 July showed that he was in Bavaria, just outside of the town of Langenthonhausen. This is the furthest east he has ventured since being fitted with his satellite tag.
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