Lovelorn Doncaster bird still without a mate after 600-mile tour of England

A lovelorn Doncaster bird has flown 600 miles around Britain in search of a mate - and returned home without luck.

Wednesday, 9th August 2017, 2:24 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 1:03 pm
The Doncaster nightjar went on a 600 mile trek to find love but returned home without luck.

Scientists followed the nightjar across Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and the Midlands have renamed the bird Marcel, after the Love Island contestant.

University of York researchers tracking the behaviour of the threatened birds on the Humberhead Peatlands, near Doncaster, were amazed to see how Bird 16840 went on an odyssey around the UK after failing to find a partner locally.

Dr Kathryn Arnold, senior lecturer in ecology from York’s Environment Department, said her team decided to call him Marcel after his GPS showed how he first flew south to Cambridgeshire, then over to Norfolk before heading to Milton Keynes, the Severn Valley and Birmingham.

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The route taken by the nightjar. (Photo: Google).

He then headed home but has still not found his mate with only a few weeks of the breeding season still to go.

Dr Arnold said: “Last month, we were shocked when the satellite tracking data came back from Bird 16840 – or Marcel as we have nicknamed him, in honour of Love Island.

“After four days of searching and not finding a mate, Marcel then did a tour of England. In less than a week he flew over 600 miles.

“First, he flew south to Cambridgeshire, then up to Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk, before heading across to Milton Keynes, the Severn Valley in Shropshire and central Birmingham, before heading back to the Humberhead Peatlands. He made several stopovers but obviously never found a suitable female to start a family with.”

A nightjar similar to the one which went on a marathon journey.

Dr Arnold said: “My colleague, Lucy Ryan, then caught him again less than 100m from where he originally started. We had no idea that he had been on such an adventure until we downloaded the GPS tag data.

“We checked and double-checked that there was no malfunction with the tag or error with the satellites – but the data is correct. After all that, he still hasn’t found a mate, but the breeding season still has another three weeks to go.”

The team are continuing their tracking in the hope that Marcel will find his match.

The route taken by the nightjar. (Photo: Google).
A nightjar similar to the one which went on a marathon journey.