With its unique position sandwiched between Europe and Asia, Turkey hosts tens of thousands of birds of different species as they migrate to Africa, Europe, Asia and many different places. worldwide. In a bid to track these birds for research purposes, Turkish researchers tracked the amazing journey of a migratory bird of a species of booted eagle – a medium-sized, mostly migratory raptor – spread across nine countries in six months, covering 20,000 kilometers (more than 12,400 miles).
Researchers from the Aras Bird Research Center in the eastern province of Iğdır placed a transmitter on the bird’s body. The bird was released into the wild on September 13, 2021 and it left the eastern province of Van in Turkey for Iran the same day.
The bird then flew to the Turkish border province of Hakkari and the next day it entered Iraq.
After staying three days in Iraq, the eagle reached Saudi Arabia. Spending seven days there, he flew to Ethiopia on September 28. After a month, the eagle flew to Kenya on October 30, Uganda on October 31 and stayed there for five months in the Nakarapirpirit region.
As winter approached in the Southern Hemisphere, it began its journey to the Northern Hemisphere. Leaving Uganda on March 12, 2022, the eagle arrived in Saudi Arabia after a journey spanning several days.
Emrah Çoban, a researcher who tracks the bird, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that important studies on the birds are being carried out at the center.
Stating that many important bird species arriving in the area have been monitored, Çoban said: “On September 13, 2021, we started monitoring the booted 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 Arabia Saudi”.
“During its migratory journey, it climbed 3,500 meters (over 11,480 feet),” he said. “We hope it will pass through Iğdır again to the breeding site and breed there,” he added.
Çoban noted that Iğdır was a vital route that birds often take during their north-south migration. “The eagle we caught is an adult individual, weighing 700 grams.”
“When you look at the (numbers) around the world, the booted eagle population is not in danger. It has a stable population.
“Their average lifespan is seven years. It will probably breed and leave when it comes back,” he added.
The booted eagle is expected to return to Iğdır in about 10 days and after staying there for some time, it will cross into Russia and nest in the northern hemisphere.