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East Anglia’s record breaking Cuckoo is off again!

13 Jul East Anglia’s record breaking Cuckoo is off again!

PJ, the Suffolk-based satellite tag-wearing Cuckoo who recently completed his fifth whole migration to and from Africa, flying over 50,000 miles in doing so, is off again – he left Suffolk heading south on 9 July.

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) have been following PJ’s migrations closely since his satellite tag was fitted in King’s Forest on the Norfolk/Suffolk border in 2016. He has been migrating to and from the Congo rainforest each spring and autumn since then, clocking up over 50,000 miles and sending almost daily updates on his whereabouts to scientists at the BTO, information that will help identify the cause of their decline here in the UK. During the early morning of 9 July signals from his tag showed he was in the southwest of France on the southern edge of the Parc naturel des Landes de Gascogne, 600 miles from his Suffolk breeding site.

This year he is joined by a new East Anglian Cuckoo, Attenborough, tagged at Cranwich, Norfolk. Attenborough is proving to be a trailblazer and is already in Northern Spain, having left East Anglia in the last few days of June. Only one of the tagged Cuckoos is further south than Attenborough, Scottish Cuckoo Ellis has just crossed the Sahara desert and is in northern Nigeria close to the border with Niger.

Paul Stancliffe, BTO Media Manager, said, “Since June, 2016, I have been out to PJ’s breeding location each summer in a bid to find him and each summer I have been absolutely thrilled to do just that. He is an amazing bird and I was surprised to see him so active back in April this year in what has to be the coldest spring I have been out looking for him. He had only been back in the forest for two days and was already chasing other Cuckoos around his chosen spot and ‘cuckooing’ for all his worth from the treetops.”

He added, “I have to accept that this might be the last time I see him, both he and his tag are getting old but you never know, maybe I will be out saying hello to him again next spring.”