An endangered bird of prey, tracked by a satellite transmitter, has covered a distance of about 25,000 kilometers (15,500 miles) and traveled in 13 countries of two continents since it was caught in Turkey's eastern Igdir province one and a half years ago.
General Directorate of Nature Conversation and National Parks in Igdir attached a satellite transmitter to a pallid harrier ("Bozkir delicesi" or Circus macrourus) in April of 2020.
The harrier was then released into its natural habitat and traveled above Armenia, Georgia, and Russia, then entered northern Kazakhstan, reproducing in the Ozyornoye region of the country.
Once the summer was over, the bird of prey once again traveled back to Turkey after following the same course, then it flew above Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Chad, and Niger respectively, finally arriving in the Sokoto region of Nigeria.
The harrier spent the winter in Sokoto and returned to its breeding point in Kazakhstan after covering the same route once again, which corresponded to 24,991 kilometers (15.5 miles).
According to the data obtained through satellite tracking, the wild bird took a rest in some wetlands as well as touristic sites and fed itself, also flying for kilometers in those locations.
The highest and lowest flight altitude of the bird were respectively determined as 3,000 (9,842 ft.) and 376 meters (1,233 ft.) and its average traveling speed was 86 kilometers (53.4 miles) per hour except for the periods it rested.
Kayahan Agirkaya, a member of Aras Bird Ringing Station in Igdir, said the data provided by satellite transmitters were of great value for scientific studies, adding that Aras River Bird Paradise hosted a great variety of bird species.
Agirkaya went on to note that the harrier tracked was currently staying in Kazakhstan and the bird of prey would go back to Nigeria to spend the winter once the convenient times arise.
Pallid harriers are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, and the Aras River Bird Paradise in Turkey remains to be one of their stop-points of the migration route.
*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas in Ankara.