Warmer climes

10 November 2011 | This 'n' that

Up and away: Jukka is about to leave for the south. Photo: Hannu Vainiopekka /Finnish Museum of Natural History

Jukka spent the night of 9 October by the river Sana in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He then crossed the Croatian border, at times reaching a speed of 96 kilometres per hour.

By 15 October Jukka had crossed the border between Libya and Niger; 350 kilometres later he settled in the desert for the night. After entering Cameroon on the 21st, Jukka completed his journey of 34 days and 6,600 kilometres by landing on the bank of River Benoue and taking a well-earned break. In March it will be time to head homewards again, to Lake Pälkäne in Finland.

Jukka is a Finnish osprey.

Earlier, another osprey, Lasse, surprised the zoologists by spending his winter in Israel, instead of Africa. But Harri decided to wing his way as far as to South Africa, almost 12,000 kilometres from home, a distance he covered in some 57 days!

The Finnish Museum of Natural History / University of Helsinki and the Finnish Osprey Foundation track ospreys with the help of satellite tracking.

Long-distance travelling is dangerous, though: Eikka perished on his way to the south in Ukraine this autumn, and in 2008 Pete was probably eaten by a local eagle in Morocco: some of his feathers, as well as the transmitter were found beside a river by two officials of the Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation, Eric Le Nuz and Rachid Khain.

Gone fishing: Jukka the satellite osprey having lunch. Photo: Hannu Vainiopekka/Finnish Museum of Natural History

And why this interest in wildlife, you might wonder? Oh, as we sit here and edit Books from Finland in the semi-darkness of a November afternoon, creatures that migrate just seem to come to mind. Not to mention hibernation, but that’s another matter….


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