Sunday 24 May 2015

Beijing Swift project preliminary results

Action for Swifts is delighted to have been involved in the Beijing Swift project where we attached 31 geolocators to Swifts at the Summer Palace in 2014 (see story). On 24th May 2015 we retrapped 13 of these birds, and downloaded all of the data successfully.

by Dick

Prior to this project, the journey made by these iconic birds - synonymous with Beijing since 1417 when they made their nests in the original city gatehouses, was a matter of speculation. We now know that they arrive in Beijing in April and, after breeding, begin their long journey to Africa in late July, taking a route that first leads them west-northwest into Mongolia, from where they pass north of the Tianshan mountains, then south through Iran and central Arabia into tropical Africa, before spending 3 months of the winter in Namibia and the Western Cape.

They begin the return journey in February, retracing a similar route on the way back, arriving in Beijing in mid-April, a journey that sees them cross about 20 borders. 

For the full story, read the Press release

One track of 13 geolocators recovered (click map to enlarge)

Lyndon Kearsley releasing a Swift with geolocator PhotZhang Weimin

Terry Townshend, right, releasing a Swift PhotZhang Weimin


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