More Cuckoos arriving in the Beacons.

28th April 2017
More Cuckoos are coming into the Brecon Beacons and I have now seen four birds, all males. Their arrival is a bit earlier than in the previous few years as I mentioned in an earlier blog. It’s normally the middle of May or later before I see and hopefully photograph them. I went up to another site I watch in spring time and I was pleased to find another two male birds. One, however, disappeared quite quickly but one stayed on the territory, you get this happening quite often, they are quite territorial.
Last week there were hardly any Meadow Pipits there but this week they were everywhere. This is not a bad thing because they harass the Cuckoos and cause them to fly and perch on awkward branches

and sometimes, in the Cuckoo’s panic, this can be quite near to a bird watcher. These Meadow Pipits are very persistent and they will sit next to a Cuckoo on a branch and pull at its tail and wings to upset it.

However, the Cuckoo is also very persistent and they will usually stick it out for as long as it takes.
I watched this age old scenario be repeated yesterday and it is quite amusing for the spectator but not for either of the players. The Pipits were dive-bombing the Cuckoo

until he flew off to another perch and then the process was repeated again and again. I am waiting for a female Cuckoo to appear and that will really set things off. You have the male Cuckoo pursuing the female and the Pipits harassing both of them!
The Cuckoos emit a huge variety of sounds that you don’t hear normally, people just hear the male ‘Cuckooing’ and most don’t recognize the female’s bubbling call. There is also a variety of snorts, hisses and cackles that the male makes when under duress from other birds harassing him. It’s quite an experience to hear these noises and also the interaction between the male and female. I look forward to more encounters with these charismatic birds as the spring progresses.