Bookies Lay Bets On The Great Cuckoo Migration Marathon, Watch our Chris For Form




Fancy betting on a bird? Well if you move fast enough our feathered friend Chris could net you some tidy winnings — provided you’re happy to wing it with a cuckoo.

Calling All Cuckoos ... Especially Our Chris (Credit Wikipedia)

Calling All Cuckoos … Especially Our Chris (Credit Wikipedia)

For UK bookmakers William Hill have became involved a story we first reported on in 2011 and they are now taking bets on which of the 17 cuckoo contenders will be lead the flock in making it back across the Channel to Britain from their winter stay in Africa.

It was in 2011 that the first cuckoos in this “race” (more an ornithologist’s tracking exercise, but there you are) were fitted with minute tracking devices by the British Trust for Ornithology in an effort to learn more about their annual migration from the UK to west Africa.

At that time French News Online sponsored a cuckoo named Chris and Mike Alexander, our environment correspondent has followed his movements with great interest ever since.

The satellite tracking of these birds has helped to demystify one of the most famous bird migrations as previously ornithologists were unsure where the birds went after crossing Europe on the southerly leg of their migration. It turns out that they continue south traversing the Mediterranean, the Sahara Desert and vast tracts of jungle before reaching west Africa.

Thirty three of the tagged birds have perished since tracking began but our bird, a lad named Chris, after the BTO President Chris Packham, is still in the running … as it were!

Lead contender at the moment is a 20 to 1 outsider named Dudley who has already reached the border between Spain and France just south of Bordeaux. William Hill point out that Chris would have to fly like a super bird to take the lead this year but let’s not underestimate the chappie.

Read Mike’s earlier piece on French efforts in saving African elephants: France Steps Up Fight Against Ivory Trade As Poachers Attack Again in Cameroon

Last year he became the first bird to make the return journey three times in a row and he has already logged more than 47,000 air miles. He once managed 1615 miles in just two days and ornithologists have learned more about cuckoo migration from Chris than from any of the other tagged birds in this project.

True he has always been a bird with a bit of a mind of his own. Where other birds tend to take differing routes on each migration Chris has stuck doggedly to the same route each year and is always the first bird to leave the UK for warmer climes.

He may be running a little behind the field at the moment but you might want to watch the dark horse, err cuckoo, now coming up on the inside there, and consider your bets carefully. Experience and fine form have a strange way of overcoming the odds even in a cuckoo migration marathon.

So if you’re a punter, head off to an online version of the bookies shop and you might soon become a believer in that French old wives tale about cuckoos and Spring. This holds that if you’ve money in your pocket when you hear the first cuckoo of the year then you will have coins in your pocket for the rest of the year.

Thanks Chris we’re betting on you!

Story:Mike Alexander
mike@mikealexander.fr
Follow Mike on Twitter

 

updated2crop-150x76-e1397767575227  … and we have a winner (not our Chris though who’s stuck in Africa!)

Wildlife Extra has just reported on the outcome: “First back to Britain after his long migration from sub-Saharan Africa was Hennah, who was satellite tagged in the New Forest last May and was named after First Lieutenant William Hennah who was on HMS Mars in the Battle of Trafalgar.

“Bookmakers William Hill has been betting on the inaugural Great Cuckoo Race, involving the migration of 17 tagged cuckoos, with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) tracking their progress from Africa to the UK…”

About Mike’s regular column the Grumpy Gardener

Our Grumpy Gardener has been gardening professionally in France for more years than he cares to remember and before that in Africa and the UK. Today he happily shares his expertise with French News Online readers. Mike also contributes regular pieces about nature, the environment and French food. A selection of his published work can be found below:

triangle down21 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan

blue31 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan

Previously – click an image below
wisteria alba 1501 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan
honey bee 1501 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan
Prune for Results
A World Without Bees?
apple tree fruit 1501 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan
prize winning rose 01 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan
Fruit Tree Pruning
Wars of the Roses
forsythia 1501 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan
cistus salvifolius 1501 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan
Prune When Finished
Herald of Spring…
cherries tree 01 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan
lavandula angustifolia 01 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan
You’ve got to be quick!
Un-thirsty Lavender
nettles 01 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan
star jasmine 01 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan
Grasp the Nettle
Star Jasmine – Madrid
stachys byzantina 01 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan
autumn arrives 01 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan
Jihad – on Bunnies Ears
Autumn Arrives
wellies 01 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan
newton gravity 01 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan
Designer Chic?
Gravity – not to be ignored!
snowdrops 01 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan
habenero 01 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan
If Winter Comes….
Hottest chilli in the world
daffodils 01 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan
irises 01 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan
Dog Days…
Fleur de Lys
marqueyssac hedges 01 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan
To read a previous article
– click an image –
Hedge Your Bets
www.french-news-online.com

blue111 The Grumpy Gardener – The Rose Of Japan

 

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