|From Chris Romeiks/vogelart.info via Wikipedia|
"For one swallow does not make the summer" [Aristotle], but could five swallows know that spring is in the air? It seems unlikely in this snowbound part of the world but possibly they have sensed a change.
The excitement over hearing the first cuckoo in the spring really might have given me a clue, but I really hadn't taken in the fact that cuckoos migrate to warm places during the winter, never mind where those places could be. In fact they migrate to Africa although very little was known about where. One bird was found in Cameroon in 1930, and that is just about all.
Until recently. Last year the British Trust for Ornithology decided to find out more about cuckoos' migration by catching and tagging. The birds proved hard to catch but in the end five from various parts of East Anglia were fitted with solar powered tags which transmit for 10 hours then recharge for 48.
The first surprise was that the birds started leaving the UK in June and all five had left by the end of July. Two then flew south via Spain and the others via Italy. At times their routes were 3,600 km apart and yet they all ended up together in the Congo by the end of November.
But here is the good news and another surprise - three of them have started moving north! Has spring already started?
Read all about it.