Ubul, the Red-footed male falcon captured last autumn in Dobruja to be fitted with a satellite transmitter so we could follow its path, reached Africa for the second time. After a collaboration of Milvus Group and several partner organizations in Hungary (MME/BirdLife Hungary, National Park Directorate Körös – Maros respectively Bükk National Park Directorate) Ubul was fitted with satellite transmitter last year, so his travels designed a full-year lifecycle providing valuable information for the professionals involved in the protection of the species.
After a gruelling journey with many adventures and dangers, Ubul returned early summer to his nesting place in Ukraine, located in the north of the Black Sea. Throughout the 33 thousand kilometres, Ubul crossed twice the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara and crisscrossed his wintering territories in Namibia and Botswana.
The hardest part of the journey proved to be the way to his nesting place. Weather conditions, particularly strong headwinds made almost impossible the safe passage of Sahara for Red-footed Falcons. Ubul, like many other birds waited for the right moment to pass Sahara, from mid-April to June flew over some hilly areas in Ghana, Togo and Benin. Unfortunately not all birds have adapted to this extreme weather. It seems that Dana, another birds fitted with satellite transmitter perished in Cameroon, like other birds trying to cross the desert in this hard meteorological conditions. The Adai`s device, a male ringed in Kazakhstan stopped transmitting information about its route over Morocco, while Apollo`s unit was recovered by some French fishermen that passed it to our Italian colleagues.
Some birds have tried to cross the Sahara by Morocco to reach the Iberian Peninsula, but most of them were pushed by the winds of the Atlantic Ocean, only a few of them, the lucky ones reached the shores of the Canary Islands and Azores.
This year two Romanian Red-footed Falcons were fitted with satellite transmitters, this time at a gathering place in Bărăgan. The two old female, named Marina and Kira, following Ubul, soon will reach Angola. Most of the Red-footed Falcons fitted with satellite transmitters in Hungary are a little late, they are in the track of the eastern birds.
The fitting of transmitters on Red-footed Falcons is financed by the Red-footed Falcon conservation LIFE+ program.
The Red-footed Falcons path can be followed here: www.satellitetracking.eu.