The cuckoo doesn’t call here any more

In my childhood in Sussex we all knew one bit of folklore. It was that cuckoos were released at Heathfield Fair on 14th April. The experts actually pronounced it as ‘Heffle Fair’ but Heathfield is the name on the map.

I always wanted to go to Heathfield and see the event but that’s not something I’ve done yet. I’m interested to see that the event is still held and cuckoos are released. Sadly, for some years now the cuckoos have not come our way. Last year – 2015 – became the first year in which I didn’t hear a cuckoo at all. The previous year I heard none in my native south but did hear them in Yorkshire.

I’m writing this on April 14th and wondering what cuckoos will I hear this year.

The cuckoo can be seen as a thoroughly nasty bird, dumping eggs in other birds’ nests and letting the host bird do all the parenting. If cuckoos were people we’d call them scroungers and wasters. But the iconic call of the male and the less familiar bubbling tone of the female were so familiar in past years and are really missed now.

On the plus side, my wife and I have both, separately, seen a swallow this year. Maybe we will, again, get a nest in our barn.

image002

This was back in 2004 with a group of young swallows getting ready to leave ‘our’ nest.

 

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One Response to “The cuckoo doesn’t call here any more”

  1. sed30 Says:

    Reblogged this on sed30's Blog and commented:
    No Cuckoo in the nest

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