Tracking great spotted cuckoos

Tracking great spotted cuckoos

23.02.2014 Testimonies Tracking great spotted cuckoos

“In May of 2013, we began tracking several Great Spotted Cuckoos with Argos 5g solar PTTs. In July of 2013, the position of one of them stabilized in a location 50 kms away from its capture area and we believed it had died. The PTT still transmitted from time to time but it was impossible for us to find it with the information provided by these transmissions... Considering the investment that is made in our PTTs, the goniometer seems to be a good tool to ensure we get as much use out of them as possible...

In February of 2014, we bought a goniometer from CLS in order to find that PTT and any other that could be lost in the future. We drove to Sierra de Filabres, to a location about two kilometers away from our last received position, an arid hilly area with a very difficult terrain and sub-arid vegetation (mainly brushes and esparto grasses, with some small pines too). Then we walked with the goniometer in our hands, getting closer to the position. When we were at 300 meters more or less, the gonio started to give us some contrary directions, probably by the shadow cast by a cliff.

A few hours later, the transmitter was found partially hidden between esparto grasses just at the edge of a small cliff. The whole operation took half a day. We were very pleased with the performance of the goniometer. It allowed us to find our lost transmitter, and even though the antenna was partially damaged it can be used again. Two other PTTs were lost in different locations of the south of Spain, but they stopped transmitting entirely in October of 2013, probably because they were buried or damaged somehow once on the ground. If we had the goniometer before, we would have tried to recover them too. It is a pity. Considering the investment that is made in our PTTs, the goniometer seems to be a good tool to ensure we get as much use out of them as possible.


Users : Juan Diego Ibáñez-Álamo, Tomás Pérez-Contreras and Manuel Soler

Organism : Department of Zoology / University of Granada, Spain

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