I have just spent a week ‘in the field’ with “Team Cuckoo” and I am elated. After five days of exhausting 0300 starts, we’ve fitted satellite tags to a total of five Beijing Cuckoos, two females and three males, caught at three different sites – Cuihu, Hanshiqiao and Yeyahu Nature Reserve. All tags appear to be transmitting normally and we hope, very soon, to be able to receive data about their locations. All being well, in a few months we will know, for the first time, the location of the wintering grounds of Beijing Cuckoos and the route they take to get there. Exciting indeed!
Here is a short video giving a flavour of the last few days..
Next week we will begin the naming process with local schools who will follow the cuckoos’ progress and learn about their migration and habitat requirements as part of a special environmental curriculum.
Very soon we’ll have a website up and running that will enable the public to follow their progress, too. Watch this space! In the meantime, I have set up a dedicated page on the Birding Beijing website where regular updates will be posted in English. See here.
The project is a partnership between the Beijing Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre (BWRRC), the China Birdwatching Society (CBWS), the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and Birding Beijing and kindly supported by the Zoological Society of London, the Oriental Bird Club and the British Birds Charitable Foundation.
It’s a project that has everything – scientific discovery, public engagement, enthusing young people, collaboration between organisations in China and Europe and cultural exchange. I am hugely grateful to Chris Hewson from the BTO for travelling to Beijing to share his expertise and oversee the catching operation. He is a superb ambassador for the BTO and for UK science in China.
We still need to raise funds to pay for the “satellite services” that will enable us to receive the data… A dedicated JustGiving page has been set up to receive any donations. All contributions, no matter how big or small, are very welcome!