The long-distance flyer
On Monday afternoon whilst monitoring raptor migration at Buskett, a juvenile Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus) was observed carrying a satellite tracker on the back by BirdLife Malta ornithologists and birdwatchers. Thanks to Dr Patrik Byholm from Finland, BirdLife has received the interesting history and origins of this bird.
The bird (Kuċċarda), a young male hatched in southern Finland earlier on this year, had been fitted with a tracker on 20 August. This was the only Finnish Honey Buzzard equipped with a tracker this year.
As can be seen from its GPS movements (map shows the raptor’s movements from 1 October only) this bird has done a lot of night-time migration and this clearly shows how young Honey Buzzards are also good flyers over open sea. There is a peculiar tendency for Finnish birds to fly SSW over the Mediterranean Sea as it’s not the first bird that took such a route.
The latest GPS movements of the Honey Buzzard show it leaving the Italian peninsula on 8 October (Otranto region) in the morning, where it crossed over the Ionian Sea flying also overnight.
It reached Malta on 9 October around midday and then settled in Girgenti where it roosted. The following day it stayed around the Buskett and Dingli area and it roosted a second night in Buskett.
It was hoped that later on yesterday, it will continue its migration.
The photo of the bird (above) was taken when the tracker had just been deployed around noon on 20 August.
Photo and map by Patrik Byholm