Jukka the Osprey to fly over the Sahara during his migration

Archive 6.4.2010 0:00 EEST

(UPM, Helsinki, 31 March 2010) - Jukka the Osprey is making his long migration from his wintering area in Cameroon towards his home in southern Finland. The migration route of the osprey is being tracked in a project that UPM is a part of through its biodiversity program.

Jukka began his migration home on 23 March. Jukka has already travelled 1,575 kilometres and is currently flying over Algeria. He’s heading towards the northwest, which is a slight worry to the researchers of the satellite tracking project. Jukka seems to have picked the longest possible route for crossing the Sahara desert – the bird is headed towards Gibraltar. Crossing the desert is demanding even when taking a shorter route. According to a Swedish study, as many as a third of young birds of prey perish in the Sahara during their first autumn migration.

The male osprey Jukka was ringed last summer as an adult at his nesting site in Pälkäne, Finland. Jukka began his journey towards his wintering area in September last year and arrived there at the end of October. The researchers believe that Jukka sought out his familiar old wintering grounds in Cameroon. While there, the bird has spent five months in an area covering just a few square kilometres. He has rested and, when hungry, popped to a nearby river to fish.

The project is being carried out in collaboration between the Finnish Museum of Natural History, the Osprey Foundation and UPM. Professor Pertti Saurola acts as the scientific head of the project.

Cooperation with the Osprey Foundation is a part of UPM’s biodiversity program. The Osprey Foundation is active in monitoring the birds and in promoting the protection of the osprey in Finland. UPM has prepared guidelines for forest management in the vicinity of osprey nests in cooperation with the Osprey Foundation. A network of artificial nests for the osprey is being developed further by building new nests in suitable locations. Most of the ospreys in Finland build their nests on human built platforms. By recording the nesting sites in the geographical information system, the species can also be taken into account in forest planning and forest management. The information on the species generated by the study can be used in protecting it.

You can follow Jukka’s migration on the Finnish Museum of Natural History website: www.fmnh.helsinki.fi/elainmuseo/satelliittisaakset/jukka

For more information, please contact:

Professor Pertti Saurola, scientific head of the project
The Finnish Museum of Natural History
Tel: +358-50-402 4042

Osprey Foundation:
Juhani Koivu
Osprey Foundation contact
Tel: +358-400-499 395

Timo Lehesvirta
Director, Sustainable Forestry
Tel: +358-400-752 212