THE PUBLIC’S help is being sought in recording the call of the increasingly elusive cuckoo this spring.
More often heard than seen, there is concern for the common cuckoo’s future since it became red-listed as a bird of conservation concern in the UK in 2009.
In Ireland, the cuckoo narrowly makes the Green-list. According to the report Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland 2014-2019 “the Irish population trend narrowly falls outside the Amber-listing threshold”.
Call of the cuckoo
Cuckoos arrive from Africa to the island of Ireland during April and May.
And the Belfast-based Centre for Environmental Data and Recording (CEDaR) is urging anyone who hears a cuckoo to provide details of their experience for researchers.
All people have to do is to visit www.habitas.org.uk/records/submit-cuckoo-record and provide details of when and where they saw or heard the cuckoo. If they are lucky enough to have been able to photograph a cuckoo they are also asked to share images.
I’ve always been a big believer that issues concerning the environment and conservation should not be limited by human border. So, I was happy to hear from CEDaR that the website allows records to be added from both sides of the Irish border.
The cuckoo is best known for the male’s distinctive ‘cuc-oo’ call, from which is earns its name. You can check out a recording I found on YouTube simply by clicking here. Experts warn that the cuckoo can sometimes be mistaken for the wood pigeon or collared dove, but it should be easy enough to record the call on a mobile phone and then compare it to online recordings.
The cuckoo is also famous for what is described as ‘brood parasitism’. The female lays her egg in another bird’s nest and chicks are raised by its ‘foster’ mother. According to Birdwatch Ireland, the cuckoo’s favoured host parent in Ireland is the meadow pipit.
Members of the public can contribute greatly to the work of researchers and conservationists. Expertise on flora and fauna is not a prerequisite to contribute to numerous surveys and recording schemes that are set up every year.
You can read my earlier blog on why the experts value the public’s contribution in helping to protect and safeguard species’ future.
I’ve also written about how even supplying relevant websites with details of roadkill incidents can help influence policy decisions by identifying vulnerable species!