Honey buzzard tracking from Hungary

In order to evaluate which factors shape the migration routes followed by adult honey buzzards, MEDRAPTORS is promoting and funding the tagging of new individuals in Hungary during summer 2020. This project was among the scientific goals of our late founder Michele Panuccio, and has been made possible by the generosity of his family. The field work is led by our colleague Eniko Anna Tamas, together with Bela Kalocsa. Seven adults have been tagged, and it will possible to follow them on this page.

Honey buzzards breeding in this part of Europe are very interesting because, unlike other populations (e.g., those from Western Europe), they can choose among different routes.

Preliminary results show a loop migration pattern that confirms the seasonal variation of field counts carried out in Italy and Spain during autumn and spring. More info is available in this paper

Agostini N, Prommer M, Váczi M, Panuccio M 2019. Repeated large scale loop migrations of an adult European Honey Buzzard. Avocetta 43: 13-21.

April 2021 update: some birds already began the pre-breeding journey, with Zemplen being the first one.

These tracks cannot be reproduced without written permission from MEDRAPTORS staff.
We thank for their collaboration Adam Tamas and Csaba Biro (rangers of Kiskunsag National Park), Istvan Beres (ranger of Aggtelek National Park and the Honey Buzzard  coordinator of MME-BirdLife Hungary), and Akos Nemeth (chief of the Kolon Lake bird ringing station, Izsak).

Short-toed snake eagle tracking


Short-toed snake eagle tracking




This project began in the 2010 from a collaboration between the Vertebrate Zoology Group at the University of Alicante (Spain) and the Regional Park  Gallipoli-Cognato Piccole Dolomiti Lucane (Italy), involving MEDRAPTORS members since the beginning. Between the 2010 and the 2013 seven young eagles have been tagged, confirming previous results on the detoured route through the Iberian peninsula (see references below).

A resume of the main results is available here.

One of these eagles, Egidio, reached adulthood and bred successfully in the 2019 while still transmitting data. We tagged his son, Michele, in collaboration with Techno Smart. Follow their movements in the maps below.

 

SPRING MIGRATION 2021

14/4/2021: Michele’s transmitter “wake up” again! Now we know he crossed the Strait of Gibraltar on April, 6. He is currently in Catalunya, heading to France (green track). We are very happy to know that this bird is doing so well!

16/3/2021: Egidio arrived to his breeding territory! This has been the 8th spring migration undertook by Egidio. Considering all the movements made throughout his life, he already covered more than 4 times the circumference of Earth!

15/2/2021: Egidio started his spring migration! We will have to wait more weeks to know the whereabouts of Michele.

 

AUTUMN MIGRATION 2020

Michele, now in his 2nd calendar year, started to migrate on the 15/9. See the yellow track in the map.

SPRING MIGRATION 2020

12/5/2020: After a travel lasting more than 7000 km, Michele reached his “goal”! We write this because he arrived to the territory where he was born, but probably he will start to show dispersal movements between Puglia and Basilicata, as he is still to young to occupy a territory. However, we may wonder if he met his parents and what they say each other!

8/5/2020: Michele entered in Italy from Switzerland. Afterwards, he followed a path besides the big pre-alpine lakes and reach the Po Delta. Let’s see if today he will turn towards the South!

5/5/2020: after entering France, Michele followed the Mediterranean coast a bit, but then turned to the North, parallel to the western slopes of the Alps, and is now in Chamonix, just below the Monte Bianco! It would be amazing if, after having avoided the Pyrenees, Michele will cross the Alps just in their highest region!

1/5/2020: after wandering a bit in Portugal, Michele continued his travel to the north, avoiding the Cantabrian mountains and also the Pyrenees, finally crossing to France just besides the Mediterranean coast. It is interesting to note that also during the autumn journey he avoided this mountain chain, but got into the Iberian peninsula on the opposite side, in the Basque country.

19/4/2020: Michele crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and is spending the night close to Sevilla.

18/4/2020 – BREAKING NEWS: Michele’s transmitter wake up again! He departed from his second wintering area in Mali (the first one was in Burkina Faso) at the beginning of april. He is currently on the African shore of the Strait of Gibraltar, probably waiting for good weather conditions in order to cross the sea. This would be quite surprising, as the majority of immature short-toed eagles spend their first summer in North Africa, but his father Egidio was already an exception to the rule. Check the green track on the map below.

19/3/2020: Egidio started his journey from Mali on the 19/2 and arrived in his breeding territory in Southern Italy on the 12/3. On the 23/2 he spent the whole day sitting on acacia trees in the Western Sahara, during a sandstorm. You can see a detailed map in our blog.
We are hoping to get data from Michele in the next month, as soon as he will reach an area with mobile coverage: immatures start their spring migration much later than adults.

 

AUTUMN MIGRATION 2019

19/11/2019: we are not receiving data from Michele since a couple of weeks. The GPS used with this eagle uses the GSM network to transmit the data. Probably he did not cross anymore areas with mobile coverage and therefore we will have to wait several weeks or months to know the whereabouts of Michele. However, we are confident that he is already exploring his wintering grounds in the Sahel.

30/10/2019: finally Michele crossed the Strait of Gibraltar, in a calm day with weak westerly winds!

28/10/2019: Michele stopped for some days in the steppes of la Serena (Extremadura), where he probably had good hunting oppurtunities, thanks to the gentle temperatures. Today, he began to travel again, reaching the Sierra Morena hills close to Sevilla. Meanwhile, Egidio is already enjoying his traditional wintering area in Mali.

22/10/2019: Michele has been observed by a local ornithologist close to Burgos, also attempting to hunt some prey. Afterwords, he resumed migration, employing a couple of days to reach the Segovia area. From here, it crossed the mountains of central Spain, finally showing a good migration day (ca. 200 km) and entering Extremadura. Instead, Egidio is already flying over the endless sands of Mauritania.

17/9: while Egidio crossed already the Strait of Gibraltar, and is about to enter in the Sahara desert, Michele is still in Northern Spain, close to Burgos, delayed by bad weather. In the last three days he moved in a quite restricted area. Hopefully he found some tasteful snakes!

11/9: finally Michele decided to avoid the Pyrenees, and is roosting just besides the border. Almost certainly it will enter in Spain tomorrow passing close to San Sebastian. Instead, Egidio is a bit North of Valencia.

9/10: turn of events! Egidio is now ahead of Michele: while the father is migrating quickly and is about to enter Spain, his son is still around Toulouse. Such speed difference between age classes is not unexpected, and moreover Egidio is at his 7th autumn migration and therefore is aided by a very good experience.

5/10/2019: finally we got new data that show that Egidio (purple,track, map below) started to migrate on the 2/10. Now, he is already in Liguria. Meanwhile, Michele crossed the Alps through valle Stura di Demonte (Cuneo) and entered to France.

2/10/2019: it seems that now Michele is migrating straightly towards the North. Instead, Egidio is still in the breeding territory. Michele spent the night between Trasimeno lake and Orvieto.

28/9/2019: unexpectedly, Michele started to migrate before his father Egidio, which is still around the nest. As it is flying mainly towards the North, we suspect he has been following another adult during at least some steps (his mother or another individual already on migration). However, anything may happen in the next days.

The reproduction or citation of the contents of this website, including maps and descriptions, is forbidden without the written permission of MEDRAPTORS.

REFERENCES

Agostini N., Baghino L., Coleiro C., Corbi F. & Premuda G. 2002. Circuitous autumn migration in the Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus). Journal of Raptor Research 36: 111-114

Mellone U., Limiñana, R., Mallìa E. & Urios V. 2011. Extremely detoured migration in an inexperienced bird: interplay of transport costs and social interactions. Journal of Avian Biology 42: 468-472

Mellone U., Lucia G., Mallìa E., Urios V., 2016. Individual variation in orientation promotes a 3000-km latitudinal change in wintering grounds in a long-distance migratory raptor. Ibis DOI: 10.1111/ibi.12401

Panuccio, M., Agostini, N. & Premuda, G. 2012. Ecological barriers promote risk minimization and social learning in migrating short-toed snake eagles. Ethology Ecology and Evolution 24: 74-80.

Black Kites movements

AIM
We are studying the movements of Black kites breeding in Italy to identify migratory flyways, stopover and wintering sites as well as intra-specific interactions.

METHODS
We use GPS-GSM recording one fix every ten minutes. Up to now we tagged juveniles from the breeding population of Cental Italy.

THE PARTNERS
This project is a result of a collaboration with Ornis italica and the eco-ethology laboratory at the University of Pavia

Strait of Messina Bird Observatory

AIM
We would like to establish a permanent bird Observatory on the Strait of Messina to run long term observation and monitoring of migrating birds.

THE SITE
The Observatory watchsites are located on the continental side of the Strait of Messina, on the Aspromonte highland (contrada S. Pietro, Solano, and Mount San Angelo). The fact that bird migration occurs both in spring and autumn and covers at least six months per year makes this site particularly suitable for an ornithological observatory.

STRUCTURES
So far there are no structures specifically dedicated to the observation activities. Birdwatchers, professional ornithologists, scientists and passionate people rely on the housing facilities of the nearby village of Gambarie (1’300 m asl) and commute every day to the observation points. In spring the field season starts around March 15, when the first marsh harriers arrive and ends at the end of May. The observers spend the whole day outdoor, 1000 m asl, where sometimes is cold and windy or very sunny and hot.

THE PARTNERS
It is ongoing as a collaboration between Ornis italica (Ornis italica) and MEDRAPTORS.
Take a look to the website of the project: straitobservatory

Migrating Raptors Project 2004-2018

In 2004 LIPU/BirdLife started the “Migrating Raptors Project” that is still going on. MEDRAPTORS collaborated coordinating the observations at the Strait of Messina and in the islands of Marettimo, Panarea and Ustica. We participated at the project through data analysis and papers writing. As one of the main result, the data collected showed that migrating Honey Buzzards crossing the central Mediterranean during spring can change their routes using tailwinds to perform long sea-crossings.