Cuckoos

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huporhaha
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Cuckoos

Post by huporhaha » Sat Jun 15, 2013 11:05 am

As I was walking the dog early this morning, I heard not one, not two, but three male cuckoos calling. They were together. There were all definitely males as all three made themselves visible flying around some sycamore trees.

They flew about a bit in the area being chased by a flock of little birds.

I'm wondering, because of their decline in recent years, are the males clubbing together to distract the little birds so the female has more of a chance to slip away unnoticed and lay her egg in a little bird's nest? Perhaps she has mated with all three of these boys this season as I do know they don't just lay one egg - they can lay three or four over a season.

Fascinating thought - anyone else seen this sort of behaviour?


Conifers
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Re: Cuckoos

Post by Conifers » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:58 pm

huporhaha wrote:I'm wondering, because of their decline in recent years, are the males clubbing together to distract the little birds so the female has more of a chance to slip away unnoticed and lay her egg in a little bird's nest? Perhaps she has mated with all three of these boys this season as I do know they don't just lay one egg - they can lay three or four over a season.
Yep, male Cuckoos are thought to act as 'targets' to tempt small birds out. Don't know if a female will mate with more than one male, but they'll typically lay 20 or 30 eggs each, not just 3 or 4.

Western Scotland is the one part of Britain where Cuckoos are not declining; probably a lot to do with less input of herbicides, pesticides, etc.


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huporhaha
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Re: Cuckoos

Post by huporhaha » Sat Jun 15, 2013 1:39 pm

I know that one male is supposed to distract little birds while the female pops into a nest and lays an egg - but three males obviously working together seems unusual - even for here. The female's call is totally different and she is a slightly different colour. More reddish.

Even though there is a healthy population here - their numbers have declined since 2003. The call used to incessant and you could often hear 3 or 4 at once but now you just hear and see them spasmodically. Did I hear that people shoot them down as they migrate over some Mediterranean island or was that another species?

Even if they are parasitic in their habits, I still like seeing and hearing them.


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flounder
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Re: Cuckoos

Post by flounder » Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:40 pm

I honestly can't remember the last time I heard a cuckoo, let alone see one......you'll miss all that when you migrate south Steph
my name is flounder, but you can call me.............flounder! (or Gary, just don't call me late for dinner)


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huporhaha
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Re: Cuckoos

Post by huporhaha » Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:40 pm

flounder wrote:I honestly can't remember the last time I heard a cuckoo, let alone see one......you'll miss all that when you migrate south Steph
I know - I heard them when I lived in North Bucks until about 1970 - and saw one once in the 1960s. Then in Cornwall we probably heard them one year in three - now we hear them most of the time at this time of year. I'm sort of torn when it comes to moving - part of me wants to see this garden through to more maturity and enjoy the solitude and quiet but part of me hates the long dark winters, the midges, the gales, the isolation etc.

TBH we can't stay much longer as the house and garden are huge and we can't afford the upkeep!

Bye bye cuckoos sometime in the next 2 years methinks.


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multim
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Re: Cuckoos

Post by multim » Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:13 pm

I've not heard a cuckoo in years. Some mistake the call of a wood pigeon for a cuckoo just because of the time of year. Perhaps even cuckoos are fed-up with are weather too.
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Yorkshire Kris
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Re: Cuckoos

Post by Yorkshire Kris » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:11 pm

Surely cuckoos are more common in the south?


Conifers
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Re: Cuckoos

Post by Conifers » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:22 pm

Yorkshire Kris wrote:Surely cuckoos are more common in the south?
Used to be, but not any more. The decline in Cockoo numbers in lowland agricultural areas of England has been catastrophic, over 80% in the last 30 years; nationally, the decline has been 65% overall in that period, with even a slight increase in western Scotland.


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Re: Cuckoos

Post by Yorkshire Kris » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:24 pm

Conifers wrote:
Yorkshire Kris wrote:Surely cuckoos are more common in the south?
Used to be, but not any more. The decline in Cockoo numbers in lowland agricultural areas of England has been catastrophic, over 80% in the last 30 years; nationally, the decline has been 65% overall in that period, with even a slight increase in western Scotland.

I have heard them every year except this one. :(


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Re: Cuckoos

Post by Conifers » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:30 pm

Yorkshire Kris wrote:I have heard them every year except this one. :(
:cry:

Head up onto the moors, it's your best chance of finding one. They'll still be 'cuckooing' a bit for another 2 or 3 weeks, particularly at dawn and dusk.


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Yorkshire Kris
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Re: Cuckoos

Post by Yorkshire Kris » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:36 pm

Conifers wrote:
Yorkshire Kris wrote:I have heard them every year except this one. :(
:cry:

Head up onto the moors, it's your best chance of finding one. They'll still be 'cuckooing' a bit for another 2 or 3 weeks, particularly at dawn and dusk.
icon_thumright


Conifers
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Re: Cuckoos

Post by Conifers » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:50 pm

The scrubbier, and less heavily grazed the moor, the better.


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