Martin the cuckoo heads for home

The first of the BTO’s Cuckoos is heading for home. He was tracked crossing the Sahara during Sunday 1 April.

Martin is being tracked by GPS transmitter. Pic BTO

Martin is being tracked by GPS transmitter. Pic BTO

Martin is one of four British Cuckoos that are being tracked by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). Having spent three weeks in Ivory Coast he is now heading north on his spring migration.

During the afternoon of 1 April, the team received a series of transmissions that showed that Martin was making his desert crossing.

During the several hours of transmissions, as he moved from Mali into Algeria, he was moving over the earth’s surface at average speeds in excess of 100km (62 mph) per hour.

It is notable that Martin is the only one of the tagged cuckoo who is more than two years old.

Older birds are generally expected to arrive back before younger birds.

Sadly, the transmission period finished before Martin had completed his desert crossing and we won’t receive further signals until 3 April.

Ten months in the life of a cuckoo called Martin:

  • 19 May 2011 – Ringed at Great Yarmouth in Norfolk
  • Late May and June – spent time in the same part of Norfolk and the Winterton area, chasing female cuckoos
  • 30 June – arrived in Auvergne (France) and quickly moved on to Milan (Italy)
  • July – spent three weeks in Italy, leaving on 21 July
  • July to March – Martin’s African tour took in the countries of Chad, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Congo, Ghana and Ivory Coast.
  • 1 April – crossed the Sahara and headed back towards Europe and (hopefully) Norfolk

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