Project Penelope takes flight


BASC has begun work on the UK-leg of Project Penelope, an international project aiming to track the Eurasian wigeon.

Named after the Latin for wigeon, Mareca penelope, the study will follow the species’ flyway with field work carried out across the UK, Denmark and Finland.

BASC, in partnership with the Waterfowlers’ Network, will record the species’ winter movements, flight paths and breeding sites.

The findings of Project Penelope will give vital information for widgeon management and conservation measures across Europe. Time is of the essence for the species, having suffered declines in breeding density and range over the last 20 years.

An army of researchers

Over the next three years a dedicated army of researchers and bird-ringing volunteers in the UK, Denmark and Finland will ring more than 6,000 wigeon. In addition, GPS-GSM trackers will be fitted to around 100 wigeon to show live updates.

Funding for the project has come from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland, and a £50,000 grant from the then Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust (now BASC Wildlife Fund).

The project is endorsed by Defra and the European Hunters’ Association (FACE). Other project partners include the Danish Hunters’ Association, Aarhus University, Turku University, Helsinki University and dozens of dedicated volunteers.

You can keep up-to-date with all the latest updates and data from the project via the Waterfowlers’ Network website.

Would you like to be part of Project Penelope? Ringing will take place over the winter in Norfolk, Lancashire, Cumbria, Gloucestershire. To find out more, email Matt Ellis here.

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