Satellite Tracking

We have been carrying out research on the migrations of Scottish honey buzzards through fitting satellite transmitters since 2001.  To date we have tagged 11 young and one adult.

Two young were tagged in 2001 and one  in 2002, as well as the adult male of all three chicks in 2002.  These birds were from a nest on Forestry Commission land near Inverness and provided very important information about the migration anomalies of young honey buzzards from Scotland. The male wintered successfully in Gabon, and his migration was accurately monitored to the wintering quarters, while one chick was tracked to Morocco before the battery ran out. The other two perished in the Atlantic Ocean after making southerly migrations with a westerly bias.

Two young from southern England were also successfully tracked to West Africa in 2003.  Unfortunately no suitable nests were located in the following years but in 2006 we are continued our research on these fascinating birds and two young were tracked to Africa.  In 2007 it was a very wet summer and wasps were scarce – as were sightings of honey buzzards.  In late August, I found one nest with a just-fledged single chick.

In 2008, I located a nest in Moray in July and ringed two young and the larger female chick was fitted with a Solar PTT100 satellite radio.  In summer 2009, we ringed and satellite tagged the two chicks from this nest; one wintered in Nigeria and one in Cameroon – both transmitters were of the old non-GPS type but data was received for over a year for Rana and 1.5 years for Vespa.  Unfortunately, in summer 2010 we located no successful nests, but in 2011 I found the new nest 1km away from probably the same pair as bred in 2008 and 2009.  The 2011 summer was very poor with lots of rain and winds, and wasps were scarce.  I found the occupied nest on 13th August and the surviving chick was tagged on 19th August.

Our honey buzzard satellite tracking studies are a partnership project between Forestry Commission, The Highland Foundation for Wildlife & The Highland Raptor Study Group.

To view details of annual movements click on the individual links on the left.