The Cuckoo
(Cuculus canorus)

The merry cuckoo, messenger of Spring
His trumpet shrill has thrice already sounded

Edmund Spenser (1552 -1599)

The cuckoo is notable for one thing. It is parasitic. That means that It lays its eggs in the nests of other birds. It can lay anything from 6 to 18 eggs in a season. Different cuckoos lay different colour eggs and each hen will look for a host bird that lays eggs of a matching colour. As its chicks grow in other nests they gradually push out the natural offspring of the host birds. Often the cuckoo chick is many times the size of its foster parents but still it is accepted.

The adult bird can be heard from early April until mid-June. Its call is one of the signs that Spring has arrived, so it is the cause of people writing to"The Times" to say that they have heard the first one.



He was but as the cuckoo is in June
Heard, not regarded.

William Shakespeare
Henry IV Pt 1


The cuckoo is the subject of many legends and song











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