Mr Conkers

Mr Conkers's journey from 02 June 2017 to 05 October 2017

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No further news from Mr Conkers - 06 Apr 2018
Unfortunately, we have received no further locations for Mr Conkers. We are unable to draw any conclusions as to what might have happened. The new 2g tags have not worked well on the Cuckoos and his loss could well be down to tag failure but we don't really know. We are unlikely to hear from him again, even though we have occasionally lost Cuckoos for several months for them to pop-up again when they begin to move. Mr Conkers should now be in an area where the tag should be getting plenty of sunlight to charge the battery. If the tag was going to burst into life it really should have done by now.
Cuckoo class of 2017 - 15 Nov 2017

In 2017, we have been trialling the very latest satellite tracking technology - this year’s cohort were tagged with 2g tags from Microwave Telemetry.

We have, unfortunately, ‘lost’ contact with most of them already. It would seem that the smaller size of the new tag allows the solar panel, used to recharge the tiny battery, to become shaded by feathers, resulting in much less efficient charging of the battery, and consequently lower contact with the tag. Although some may have died, the lack of transmissions from the tags makes it impossible to assess this and in all cases, there were no indications that the birds were in trouble when we last heard from their tags.

This is exacerbated during the winter months by the birds spending more time under the canopy in the Congo rainforest. We don’t know how the batteries will fare when the birds begin their northward migration back to the UK. On leaving the rainforest the tags should receive more sunlight which might be enough to overcome feather shading, and if this happens some of the ‘lost birds’ could pop-up again in February or March, but it is possible that the prolonged shading will have caused irreversible damage to the much smaller batteries in the 2g model. We all have our fingers crossed.

As we move forward we are continuously looking for effective ways to continue gathering this important data for Cuckoos, and other species, to benefit our knowledge and ultimately wildlife conservation. We hope that next year we will be able to track a cohort of cuckoos without these issues arising. 

Mr Conkers heads east - 20 Sep 2017
Mr Conkers has headed eastwards to Guinea and on to Mali.
Mr Conkers continues south - 29 Aug 2017
Mr Conkers left the Ferlo Nord National Park and a new transmission placed him 170km (105 miles) further south within Senegal, just south of Guida.  
Mr Conkers crosses the desert! - 15 Aug 2017
A transmission on the morning of the 14 August revealed that Mr Conkers had left Morocco and sucessfully crossed the desert. He covered 1660km (1030 miles) south to reach the Ferlo Nord Wildlife Reserve in Senegal. He has taken a more westerly route than any of the other Cuckoos this year.