Ah, the first signs of The End of the Winter – today we heard the cuckoo !
A few cuckoo facts:
- there are many types of cuckoo
- most are beige/brown or blue-grey in colour
- they spend most of the year in Africa and from there travel all over Europe, Asia and Australasia
- the female lays 12-22 eggs, all in different nests, usually nests belonging to the pipit or the reed bunting
- although the cuckoo’s eggs look the same as hers, the mother reed bunting or pipit will chuck out about 20% of the cuckoo’s eggs
- the female cuckoo chooses a nest belonging to the same species of bird that she hatched in herself
- they get their name from their distinctive call (ie their name is onomatopoeic), though in fact not all cuckoos make the well-known distinctive sound, and also it is anyway only the males
- in the UK the tradition used to be that you phone The Times to tell them when you hear the first cuckoo!
- cuckoo spit has nothing to do with cuckoos – it is from insects
- cuckoo’s favourite food is hairy caterpillars
- there is no record of a cuckoo ever being seen in Iceland or being heard in Africa
Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist. Her books are available on Amazon or Kindle, or can be ordered from most leading book stores or libraries. Her titles, and more about her and her work, are on http://www.turquoisemoon.co.uk