Posted on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
June 22nd 2010 is a special day for male Great Bustard P5. Not because it’s his birthday – he was actually hatched in Russia 1,123 days ago on May 26th in 2007 making him 3 years and 27 days old. So why is it a special day? Well, today is special because it is the 1,000 day since he was released on Salisbury Plain.
Released with purple wingtags (hence the P in his name) with the number 5 on, he was also fitted with a GPS transmitter (technically referred to as a PTT). This remarkable piece of technology, funded by Natural England, has been taking a geographic reading of his whereabouts everyday at mid-day since he was released. That means that no matter how out of sight he has been to us, we know exactly where he has been hiding every single day. Although there is 23 hours 59 minutes between each geographic reading, giving him plenty of time to explore and fly considerable distances that won’t be detected by the PTT, we are still able to get a fascinating insight into his movements and habitat choices. In fact, the location readings are so accurate we know the exact places in the fields he uses so we can study what factors are influencing his choice of habitat.
Data such as that obtained from the PTTs really does further our knowledge and understanding of how the Bustards are settling into the English countryside. To date the furthest P5 has travelled is 35 km from the release site but the extreme distances from north to south is 60 km and east to west is 35 km. About three quarters of his location readings have come from the release site and immediate surroundings with the remainder coming mostly from a single site about 10 km away.
There will be more about P5 and his first 1,000 days in the next issue of our newsletter, Otis 34.
Categories: Great Bustards