The Cuckoo - Diane Gullett
The cuckoo comes in April,
He sings his song in May,
In June she lays her eggs,
and July they fly away.
I am sure we all know versions of this rhyme. This week I have had the most uplifting moment and have tried to share it with as many people as I can. I heard the cuckoo! Now to people of a certain maturity this was the start of those wonderful never to be forgotten sun filled days of childhood. When the calls were part of our life of innocence and exploring the world. When I have mentioned this to friends all have said I haven’t heard one for years. In Boverton there was always the early calls so I think when Prince Charles had his estate here many years ago and set up the nature reserve it produced a wonderful place of serenity where nature has thrived and we have all benefited.
During lockdown we have all spent more time walking in the open air enjoying what time we were allowed and have seen more of the natural world than we normally would have. We have birds, badgers, squirrels all living and thriving on our doorstep. The wild flowers this year have been prolific and the banks of primroses are magnificent. Now the bluebells are starting to flower, and although they are mostly the Spanish variety, the colours are so vivid.
One wet weekend I was trawling through the networks looking for something of interest when I came upon a Nature programme about Birds Eggs. It was a fascinating insight into work a University is doing studying the collections of eggs sourced from museums and dating from the early Victorians. This was a time when egg collecting was a very popular hobby and perfectly legal, which it isn’t now. From this study they had drawn the conclusion that the birds that had been predated by the cuckoo have very cleverly changed the marking on their eggs to be able to weed out the interloper before hatching it. Could this be one explanation why no one is hearing the cuckoo any more?
There are also many other theories such as climate change, netting for food, and shooting for sport all hazards they have to overcome on their long migration. It is interesting though to hear everyone say how they miss this harbinger of Summer. No matter what you think of them they are all God's creatures and precious for it. Long may they survive to bring us pleasure which they certainly did for me this week.
Thank you Di for writing and preparing this fascinating piece for the blog. I love hearing the Cuckoo but it is years ago since I heard it. The egg theory sounds most possible and birds are clever little things. Thank you again so much.