Monday 23 May 2016

Beijing Swift Project 2016

On Saturday 21st May, we undertook the next stage of the Beijing Swift Project at the Summer Palace, here in Beijing. 

Some of the team
We succeeded in catching 10 birds with geolocators. 9 of these had good data, 6  from birds tagged in 2015 and 3 from birds tagged in 2014. 2 of these we had caught in 2015, but one was a new bird carrying 2 years worth of data.

So we now have 23 complete tracks, 14 of the 2014/15 migration and 9 of the 2015/16 migration. 

Preliminary analysis shows the birds doing similar things, with some interesting differences, in the 2 annual cycles.

The following is a video animation by Lyndon Kearsley of the results of the 2014-15 migrations. The gaps in the anmation occur in the periods near the equinoxes:

We also succeeded in fitting 46 new loggers of various types: GPS loggers, loggers with accelerometers and pressure sensors, as well as some more light level geolocators. These should give us more valuable information in 2017.

This year, the team comprised Lyndon Kearsley (Belgium), Susanne Åkesson (Lund University), Chris Hewson (BTO), Terry Townshend (Birding Beijing), Wu Lan (Beijing Forestry University), Robert Jolliffe and Dick Newell (Action for Swifts), as well as about 60 people form the China Birdwatching Society and Beijing Normal University led by Professor Zhao.

For more, with pictures, read Birding Beijing


  1. Edward Jackson24 May 2016 at 06:51

    Wow - fantastic animation Lyndon! It's particularly interesting to see the group of birds still in Africa in mid April while the others have already reached Beijing and then arriving back themselves at the end of the first week of May. Is there any indication that these later arrivals are birds yet to breed for the first time?

  2. Hi Dick and Lyndon. Wow - fantastic animation! As well as noting that the main wave of birds came back to Beijing in mid April (i.e. earlier than UK birds) it's interesting that there was another group still in Africa that arrived back in early May. Is there any evidence that these were younger birds who may not have bred yet?