As part of an ongoing study to find out why Common Cuckoo is declining, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has fitted a further 10 individuals with tiny satellite tags this summer.

Cuckoo

The study aims to better understand the reasons behind why we have lost almost three-quarters of our Common Cuckoo population over the past 25 years. It has already identified important migration routes via stopover sites in northern Italy and southern Spain, and the precise wintering locations in the Congo rainforest.

Mortality of cuckoos taking the route via Spain has been linked to population decline within the UK. What scientists at the BTO would like to know now is how well our cuckoos make it to and from Africa in different summers, and specifically, how relatively important conditions in the UK and southern Europe are in contributing to a successful – or otherwise – Saharan crossing in autumn.

The first of the satellite-tagged cuckoos could leave at any day now. Each bird has been given a name: Sherwood, Robinson, Knepp, Raymond, Lambert, Carlton II, Sylvester, Thomas, Cameron and Bowie. They were tagged at sites in Suffolk, Sherwood Forest, Thetford Forest, the Knepp Estate in Sussex and the New Forest.

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