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Last Updated: Monday, 18 September 2006, 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK
Buzzards tracked on journey south
Honey buzzard
Honey buzzards spend the winter in Africa and southern Asia
Two honey buzzards have been fitted with satellite transmitters so they can be tracked via the internet.

Conservationists hope the young birds born in the Highlands will reveal the secrets of their annual migration.

The project involves Forestry Commission Scotland and Highland Foundation for Wildlife.

Honey buzzards, which raid bees and wasps nests to feed on the insects and their larvae, breed in the UK and winter in Africa and southern Asia.

Since leaving their nest in the Highlands on 7 September one of the birds has flown as far as Basingstoke in Hampshire.

The other is still closer to home at Loch Duntelchaig near Inverness.

Small population

Scottish Forestry Minister, Rhona Brankin, said the project will aid in efforts to protect the bird.

She said: "This project aims to trace the migration and wintering sites of the small population of honey buzzards which live in the Highlands.

"It will continue to give a fascinating insight into the lives of these extremely rare birds and will help to develop measures to secure the future of the Highland population.

"It is pleasing to hear that the birds have safely begun their journey."

The progress of the birds can be followed on www.forestry.gov.uk/birdlife and www.roydennis.org/honeybuzzard.htm.

Atlantic Ocean

Roy Dennis, of the Highland Foundation for Wildlife, said the two youngsters potentially have a 5,000 mile journey to Africa ahead of them before they reach the equatorial rain forests.

He said: "We will be following their journeys with great interest and hope any flights they make over the open Atlantic Ocean are successful and they safely reach the African coast."

The bird is similar in looks to the common buzzard but can be distinguished by a dark double bar near the base of the tail.

They also have longer and narrower wings.

Honey buzzards are not considered globally threatened - there are estimated 160,000 pairs in Europe - but in Britain they are hard to find and the locations of many pairs are kept secret.


SEE ALSO
Experts tracking hawk fear worst
03 Oct 02 |  Scotland
Satellite tracks 'lost' buzzard
01 Oct 02 |  Scotland

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