Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Cuckoo

I heard one calling last week and then again two days ago. The call I heard sounded to be a few fields away, though distinct, was faint.

This morning at about 10:00 while walking the dog one few overhead, landed on the top of a nearby pine and stared to call. It was LOUD!I was thrilled to not only have one calling so close, but I actually saw this secretive bird. One of the nests that cuckoos like to lay their eggs in is the nest of the dunnock. We've got a lot of dunnocks around here.

I hope we always have cuckoos near us. For a number of years, I didn't hear a cuckoo at all and I feared that Rachel Carson's prediction in her book Silent Spring was coming true. Bird numbers keep falling and every year we hear that another species' numbers are plumetting faster than expected.

A few years ago the number of sparrows dropped suddenly. The bird that was so common throughout my life became a rare visitor at our bird table. The year before it could be counted on that there would be a cloud of them near the local dairy farm where they would take advantage of spilled cattle feed and nice hedges to hide in. The following year there were about ten where there had previously been hundreds. It may have been a virus that had run riot through sparrows. Having witnessed the drop in sparrow numbers I worried that I had heard my last cuckoo. You will be happy to know that the local population of the common sparrow is rebounding nicely and today I heard a cuckoo and I saw one!


Anonymous said...

Hi Peggy. Firstly, well done on seeing the Cuckoo. Fantastic birds aren`t they ?
Secondly, i thing the fall in Cuckoo numbers is down to the decrease in certain moth species. Moth caterpillars are the major food source for the adult adult birds.

Betty said...

Funny, I thought cuckoos were only found in clocks. lol

Anonymous said...

I remember when the avian flu hit here in Chicago. It was so silent without the crows! But now, a few years later, it's pretty much business as usual. Yesterday evening, I listened to a beautiful song from a cardinal near our back yard. A blessing. Cousin Susan

Joy Des Jardins said...

Hee, hee...I'm with Betty. Actually, I did know there was a Cuckoo bird; but of course I've never seen one. He's really very handsome. I could use his loud call here to give some pretty loud birds by my bedroom window some good competition. I seem to like hanging around my air conditioner.

Love the pics from your previous post Peggy... ~Joy

Shammickite said...

I've never heard a cuckoo here in Canada, but perhaps I haven't been listening carefully enough. I heard them all the time in England.