December 10 2013 Latest news:
Friday, August 16, 2013
A Norfolk cuckoo called Ken is one of five birds fitted with a tracking device that has reached the Sahara Desert.
The project to track the journeys of cuckoos from East Anglia is now in its third year and has made some significant discoveries about the routes taken by the birds and about the environment in Africa where the birds spend winter. Ken was captured and tagged at Burgh Common, near Attleborough, on land owned by Essex & Suffolk Water.
The water company is supporting the British Trust for Ornithology’s cuckoo project and this particular bird has been named after Ken Saul, a conservation volunteer for the firm. “Secretly I’m very proud that he’s been named after me, but some of the other volunteers have given me a bit of stick about it,” said Mr Saul, of Filby, near Great Yarmouth.
The bird’s progress is being tracked online and he has so far flown through Spain to Africa.
Dr Phil Atkinson, head of international research at the BTO, said: “Ken initially surprised us by moving the wrong direction, going north from Burgh Common to an area in Lincolnshire near the Wash.
“After spending a week or two there he reoriented himself and moved through Sussex, spent a few days in Aquitaine in France before heading to Cadiz, a province of Spain. This is likely his main fattening area before his long journey across the Sahara,” he added.
“The project is enabling us to understand the migration of this fascinating bird and to provide the information necessary to aid its conservation.”
Helen Jacobs, senior conservation advisor at Essex & Suffolk Water said: “We own a number of sites in the East of England that support cuckoos and we’ve seen a decline in line with the national figures of these iconic birds.
“We’re pleased this project is making significant discoveries that could help them.
To follow Ken visit www.bto.org/science/migration/tracking-studies/cuckoo-tracking/ken.