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Thread: Is the Cuckoo clocking in too late?

  1. #1
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    Jul 2007

    Default Is the Cuckoo clocking in too late?

    During the last 25 years the number of breeding Cuckoos in the UK has dropped by over two-thirds. Could climate-induced changes that allow birds like the Dunnock and Meadow Pipit to nest up to a week earlier than in 1994, mean the Cuckoo is arriving back in the UK too late to lay eggs in their nests?


  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008


    It is an interesting theory but I don't get the impression that here in the Geneva/Alps region Cuckoos have reduced anything like as much as that. I was in the mountains a couple of times in the last week or so and numbers seem to be high where they probably mostly parasite Water Pipits. The number of Cuckoos was remarked upon by a visiting UK birder...

    That being the case it would suggest that reductions are not linked to poor migration or wintering conditions, UNLESS our Cuckoos winter in another part of Africa compared with UK birds. I also seem to have about the same number of singing males around my house at lower altitudes as during the last 15 years or so. (Subjective measurement of course!)


  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2008


    Around here, Cuckoos have vanished completely from lowland arable land and 'improved' pastures, but are hanging on in small numbers in the uplands on marginal pasture.

    I'd blame the shortage of large hairy caterpillars (and overall general sterility) of today's modern intensive agriculture.

    That even upland populations are down, is likely because even these birds have to migrate through lowland England's sterile farmland deserts, and can't find enough food on them to build up the fat levels neccessary for reaching tropical Africa.

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