Spring signal

The cuckoo, a cheery sound that signals the beginning of spring. The cuckoo we have in the UK is the only one of all the species within the family to make the distinctive call which gives the family their name. Once it was reported in the papers when the first cuckoo to return to the UK after winter had been sighted, which is odd considering they are certainly not the first species to return to the UK out of all the migrant birds we have. Walking in the countryside you may hear a cuckoo call, although even that is a rare treat these days, but to see one is an incredible challenge. But there is a darker side to this summer visitor. Here, a female cuckoo lays her single egg in a warbler nest and they look similar enough to her own eggs that the warbler mother looks after it. When the cuckoo chick hatches, it dispatches the other chicks or eggs in the nest by pushing them out, it then mimics the call and gape of a whole brood of chicks, leaving the poor adults as foster parents. The cuckoo chick will eventually grow to six times the size of its foster parents, before flying south for the winter.

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3 minutes


Role Contributor
PresenterBill Oddie
ProducerMark Jones
Executive ProducerTim Scoones

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