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Named by Friends of Thetford Forest after Thomas Paine, political theorist and revolutionary and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States who was born in Thetford in 1736.

Thomas the Cuckoo
Sunday, June 3, 2018 - 08:00
Tagging Location:
Cranwich Heath, Thetford Forest
Age when found:
Over one year
Satellite Tag No.:
Wing Length (mm):

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Thomas's journey from 03 June 2018 to 08 July 2020

Thomas's position on
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Thomas's movements

06 Aug 2019 - Unlikely to hear more from Thomas

Thomas last appeared to be heading out over the Mediterranean on  24 July and since then we’ve had 'radio silence'. It’s unlikely we will hear from his tag again but as his disappearance occurred after a prolonged period of declining battery charge, it’s impossible to say whether he died south of Spain (in north Africa or during the desert crossing) or whether his tag's battery gave out when it was hit with the sun during the desert crossing.  

25 Jul 2019 - Thomas on his way to Africa?

We were getting a bit worried about Thomas after a period of almost two weeks without an update from his tag. When we last heard from him he was near Ales in souther France. Finally on Monday 22 July we received a couple of poor quality locations showing that he had flown 840 km (521 miles) south west and was just south of Daimiel in Ciudad Real, Castile-La Mancha, Spain. He didn't hang around though and by 19:24 on the evening of July 24 he had flown another 297 km (185 miles) south west and was on the Costa del Sol, between Marbella and Fuengirola, approximately 4.5 km (2.8 miles) inland. It looks like he may have just been passing through as the last signal we received last night at 20:30 showed him to be 12 km (7.8 miles) due south of Marbella, out over the Mediterranean. This was a poor quality signal so we'll have to await the next update to find out if Thomas has made his move to Africa.

25 Jun 2019 - Thomas is off

We didn’t have to wait long to find out as, by the 20 June, Thetford Cuckoo Thomas was on his way south! Late that evening he was flying over the English Channel, at least 110 Km (65 miles) from his tagging location. The next set of transmissions on 22 June, show he had journeyed another 695km (430 miles) and was located north of Auvergne in the Livradois-Forez Regional Nature Park. Not yet finished he appears to have continued southwards and by the 23 June he was close to Ales.  All-in-all he had taken a huge trip of 950km (590 miles) since the evening of the 20 June.

19 Jun 2019 - Thomas still in Thetford Forest

Thomas has been pretty faithful to the area of Thetford Forest just to the west of Mundford. He is currently in a forest block just on the southern edge of the village. In 2018 he left the UK on 14 June - when will he leave this year?

04 Jun 2019 - We've seen Thomas

Thomas has been pretty faithful to the Cranwich Heath area but he has also ventured further south. Whilst out birdwatching at Lakenheath Fen in May, two members of BTO staff saw a tagged Cuckoo, and looking at the data Thomas has visited the area a few times. However, whilst out with the Cuckoo team on Cranwich Heath we saw him again, determinedly chasing another male Cuckoo and a female. In 2018 he left for Africa on 14 June, so he may not be around the heath much longer.

Past updates from Thomas

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