Turkish researchers have tracked the amazing journey of a migratory bird dubbed “little eagle” spread over nine countries in six months, corresponding to 20,000 km (over 12,400 miles).
Researchers at the Aras Bird Research Center in the eastern province of Igdir placed a transmitter to the bird’s body.
On Sept. 13, 2021, it was released into the wild.
The bird left Turkiye’s eastern province of Van for Iran on the same day.
It detoured to Turkiye’s border province of Hakkari and the very next day crossed to Iraq.
After staying in Iraq for three days, the eagle reached Saudi Arabia. Spending seven days there, it flew to Ethiopia on Sept. 28.
After a month, the eagle flew to Kenya on Oct. 30, Uganda on Oct. 31, and stayed there for five months in the Nakarapirpirit area.
With the approach of winter in the southern hemisphere, it began its journey to the northern hemisphere.
Leaving Uganda on March 12, 2022, the eagle came to Saudi Arabia after a journey spread over several days.
Emrah Coban, a researcher tracking the bird, told Anadolu Agency that significant studies on bird science are being conducted at the center.
Stating that many important bird species arriving in this area have been monitored, Coban said, “On Sept. 13, 2021, we started monitoring the little eagle that was attached to our net by installing a 10-gram satellite transmitter.”
Stating that the eagle spent the winter in an area close to the Kenya-Uganda border, he said, “Now it has started its journey back (to Turkey) and is currently in Saudi Arabia.”
“On its migration journey, it has soared to 3,500 meters (over 2.17 miles),” he said.
“We hope that it will again go through Igdir to the breeding ground and breed there,” he added.
Noting that Igdir is a vital route that birds often use during their north-south migration, Coban said, “The eagle we caught is an adult individual, weighing 700 grams.”
“When you look at the (figures) world over, the population of little eagles is not endangered. It has a stable population.
“Their average lifespan is seven years. It’ll probably be breeding and moving on when it gets back,” he added.
It is expected that the little eagle will come back to Igdir in about ten days and after staying there for a while, then it will cross to Russia and nest in the northern hemisphere.