We have received no further signals from Cookie. The data from his tag showed a low battery charge and although there is no evidence that he has died we think that this is likely. Dr Chris Hewson, lead scientist on the project visited northern Italy during the summer and found Cookie alive and well but in a location that held a very active Peregrine. Peregrines are known to take Cuckoos on migration and it is not impossible that this could have happened to Cookie.
The Po watershed and surrounding areas used by our Cuckoos on their migration are experiencing severe drought this year and we think this may be why Viator failed to successfully complete the desert crossing. We fear that Cookie and Ash have also been affected as it's been so long since we heard from their tags and we suspect we won't receive further signals.
Both Viator and Ash left the Po area and headed further east to Croatia, which is unusual, and could have been because of poor conditions. However, it's extremely likely that the part of Croatia, just over the Adriatic (55 miles form the Po delta), is also suffering from this regional drought.
Previously we've only ever lost two southeasterly migrating birds before completion of the Sahara crossing, both in 2012, and so far it looks like we've lost three this year.
Newly named Cuckoo, Cookie, is on the northern edge of the Po Valley and the southern edge of the Italian Alps. He is currently 1,244km (773 miles) from his tagging location in the Lune Valley.