Cuckoo Ornithology Society 🕊

If there’s one thing I’m cuckoo about, other than delivering high-quality yet affordable broadband, it’s cuckoos. The birds. Yep - I’m a real ornithologist.

I’ll kick off with some of my favourite cuckoo-related facts. But I want to see more. Many more. So share them here.

If you’re lucky, we might just steal your fact and put it on our website…

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Fun fact : The resident African cuckoo looks virtually identical to our bird, but has more orange-yellow on the beak. It calls pooh-pooh. After much deliberation we decided against that being our company name.

Fun fact : The name cuckoo is onomatopoeic, which means that it is taken from the bird’s call (like, for example, curlew and hoopoe).

Fun fact : Though there are 54 species of Old World cuckoos, just two live in Europe; most live in Africa, Asia and Australasia.

Fun fact : The common cuckoo is the only member of the family that calls cuckoo-cuckoo-cuckoo… Most of the others have loud voices but totally different calls.

Fun fact : The cuckoo is one of the most widespread breeding birds in Europe, and is only absent from Iceland. It also breeds throughout Asia, as far east as Japan.

Fun fact : The female cuckoo doesn’t actually “coo-coo”. Her bubbling call is instead often said to resemble the sound of bath water running out when the plug is pulled. Apparently.

Fun fact : William Shakespeare refers to the cuckoo in Henry IV, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and King Lear. In total he mentions birds 606 times in his writings, covering 64 different species.

Fun fact : The 14th April is St. Tiburtius Day, and is traditionally when you will hear the first cuckoo. It’s also the date of our annual office party.

Fun fact : It is traditional to pen a letter to The Times the first time you hear a Cuckoo in spring. The Times has supposedly been publishing ‘first cuckoo’ letters for around a century. We write to them every year.

Fun fact : On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring is a piece of classical music written by Frederick Delius in 1912. Its first theme is an exchange of cuckoo calls between the oboe and the strings.

Fun fact : The largest species of cuckoo - the channel-billed cuckoo - weighs up to 900 grams. This is about 50 times heavier than the smallest species - the little bronze cuckoo.

Fun fact : The cuckoo is named in most languages after its call. In France it is known as the coucou, in Holland koekoek, in Germany kuckuk, in Russia kukush-ka and in Japan kak-ko.

Fun fact : Roadrunners are technically part of the cuckoo family. They have been reported to run at speeds as fast as 42 kilometres per hour - faster than Usain Bolt over 100m.

Fun fact : Cuckoos have played a role in human culture for thousands of years, appearing in Greek mythology as sacred to the goddess Hera.

Fun fact : We have sadly lost around three-quarters of the UK cuckoo population since the 1980s, yet know little of the reasons why. And changes in Cuckoo numbers vary dramatically across the UK. In England, the we’ve seen a 70% decline since 1995, but the Scottish population has increased by 30%, with especially fast growth in the Highlands.

Fun fact: Cuckoos are specialists at eating foods that other birds can’t eat, such as hairy moth caterpillars. So if you’d like to support cuckoo populations, grow plants that caterpillars love eating, like jasmine, honeysuckle, evening primrose, sweet rocket and night-scented stock.

Fun fact: Ken Kesey, the author of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest never saw the film. Kesey disapproved of the big screen adaptation of his novel as soon as he found out that the filmmakers had abandoned the use of Chief Bromden as the story’s narrator

Fun fact: Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is set in a mental asylum, where male patients rebel against an oppressive hospital staff. The story was later made into a movie, starring Jack Nicholson. It was the first film to win all “Big Five” Academy Awards in 41 years.

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Did you intend to add this?

" Cuckoos are notorious for evading parental duty by laying their eggs in the nests of other, smaller, brooding passerines, typically Reed Warblers or Meadows Pipits. After laying an egg , the female cuckoo distracts the nest owner by frightening it with a call that mimicks that of Eurasian Sparrowhawk."

Sneaky! :smiley: