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Named by sponsor Gillian Wills, inspired by intrepid explorer Christopher Columbus, whose navigational skills and persistence have resounded through the centuries - infusing a sense of wonder at his achievements.

Columbus the Cuckoo
Monday, May 17, 2021 - 10:30
Tagging Location:
Loch Arklet, Perthshire, Scotland
Age when found:
Satellite Tag No.:
Wing Length (mm):

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Columbus's journey from 17 May 2021 to 04 July 2021

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Columbus's position on
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Columbus's movements

19 Jul 2021 - It's the end of the road for Columbus

After getting off to a promising start by flying 424km (264 miles) south from Scotland to Nottinghamshire we are sad to lose Columbus. On 26 June there was a sudden, permanent drop in temperature recorded by his tag and the battery charge then declined steadily until the last transmission on 4 July. Unfortunately this suggests that Columbus has perished. The information gathered from Columbus will still make a valuable contribution to our growing knowledge and understanding of the risks faced by Cuckoos on migration. 

17 Jun 2021 - Introducing Columbus

Columbus was the first bird the team caught in the Trossachs in 2021, at a spot adjacent to Loch Arklet. There were at least four male Cuckoos calling that morning and the local Meadow Pipits were on such high alert that they started mobbing the stuffed Cuckoo that the team use to lure the Cuckoos in. The team were very pleased to get their Scotland trip off to such a good start. Columbus is still at his breeding grounds where he was tagged.

17 Jun 2021 - Meet the 2021 Cuckoos

After being unable to tag any Cuckoos in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are delighted to be able to introduce eleven new Cuckoos this year!

The tagging teams faced some very early starts as usual to tag the Cuckoos, but they were rewarded with birds who were interested enough in the female lure to be caught, weighed and tagged (with the exception of a location near Loch Katrine where there were a number of female Cuckoos around, making our lure less convincing!).

Some of these newly-tagged birds have already begun their migration south, with one in France, one in the Netherlands and one of the Scottish birds is already down in Essex.

Keep an eye on the individual birds' blogs for updates on their progress.

Past updates from Columbus

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Information on this page is for illustrative purposes only and should not be reproduced without permission
© British Trust for Ornithology.