Last year Devon Birds jointly sponsored the tagging of four cuckoos with DNPA and named the birds Dart, Ryder, Tor and Whortle. If you have followed the Society News section on our website or notes in the Harrier you will know that sadly two of our four Cuckoos (Dart and Ryder) died in their attempts to reach their wintering grounds. We thought Tor had also succumbed after he transmitted from the Congo on 4 Dec and then there was silence for three months till March. When he reappeared he had moved to the Central African Republic and it was realised that his tag had become intermittent. Nothing further was heard until a signal was received in mid-May showing he had made it across the Sahara desert to Morocco but his story ended there as it is believed he died after his long trip or he could have been shot in Morocco.
Our fourth Cuckoo, Whortle, we are delighted to say made his journey down to the Democratic Republic of Congo and then all the way back across Africa, the Sahara, then Europe and was back on Dartmoor by the beginning of May!
This is such an important project that Devon Birds are sponsoring a further two birds this year with DNPA sponsoring another one. As a result of our joint sponsorship the BTO Senior Research Officer, Chris Hewson, assisted by Dr Malcolm Burgess caught and successfully tagged three male Cuckoos on Dartmoor on 15 May. The birds have been named Emsworthy – after the place where he was caught. Wistman – after the ancient Dartmoor Oakwood and Meavy after the Dartmoor village and river. You will be able to follow their migration in the weeks and months ahead with updates periodically here on the Society News section and in the Harrier Newsletter.
We shall watch with interest to see where their migration route takes them and how they fare on their journeys.