28 September 2016

We have been worried about Hope for some time and we now believe she has perished.  The tag that was fitted to Hope, as well as transmitting a signal that enables the satellites to calculate her position, also transmits data about temperature.  Usually, the fluctuations in temperature between day and night time are mitigated by the bird’s body temperature.  However, if the fluctuations between day and night temperatures are relatively large, reflecting the difference in day/night temperatures at the bird’s location, it is an indication that all may not be well.  In Hope’s case, all looked good into August – her temperature data was normal.  However, later that month and into September, the temperature data showed an increase in fluctuation that was beyond what we would expect of a tag on a healthy bird.  Combined with the lack of movement in Hope’s location, especially as she summered so far north, this information leads us to believe she she has died and her body is in a position where the tag’s solar panel is still receiving sunlight to charge the battery and the antenna is free enough to allow the signals to be transmitted successfully.

1 August 2016

After a small movement south in mid-July, Hope is now back in her summering area, east of Lake Baikal!  With Flappy already on the move, we expect Hope to begin her migration very soon.

Hope as at 1 August 2016

July 2016

The 5th Cuckoo to be tagged is a female tagged at Yeyahu National Wetland Park in Beijing on 27 May 2016.  She was named “Hope” by the students at the International Youth Green Summer Camp in Guangzhou.  When she was tagged in late May, she had not finished her migration and, shortly afterwards headed to Russia, settling down for the summer about 250km east of Lake Baikal in Russia, making her the most northerly Cuckoo of the five.  We suspect she, as with Flappy, is of the canorus subspecies and not of the bakeri subspecies that breeds in Beijing.  The habitat below is typical of the area where Hope has spent the summer.

Hope’s summering location, south Russia.  Photo by Lawnmower (Panoramio in Google Earth)

On 18 July Hope it appeared that she began her southward migration.  As at 20 July, her current location is here…

Hope, 19 July 2016