Listening out for the cuckoo – have you heard its first call this spring?

18th April 2019

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council needs your help this spring to listen out for the call of the cuckoo.

The Council is appealing to local people to report when and where they first hear its distinctive sound.

In previous years, the earliest it has been heard is 6 April, however the calls have faded in recent years due to decline in numbers.

The Council needs vital information such as where you hear or see it, what type of habitat you hear it in, and the dates you hear the cuckoo call. This information will then be used to build up a picture of when the cuckoo first arrives in Fermanagh and Omagh and where it lives while it is here. The opportunity to spot cuckoos is quite brief, and you are much more likely to hear a cuckoo than to see one as they stay well hidden. Their distinctive call is easy to identify.

What to listen for: Males – Cuc-cooo, while females have a bubbling call. To hear their calls, log onto the RSPB website www.rspb.org.uk and search for cuckoo.

What to look for: Dove size, blue grey birds with a slim body and pointed wings like a small bird of prey such as a kestrel or sparrow hawk. Juveniles are grey-brown and heavily streaked.

Where to look: Cuckoos are found across Northern Ireland in moorland, wetland, woodland and farmland. They are most common in western parts.

The Council encourages everyone to report their sightings or records of not only cuckoos but also any species of interest such as red squirrels, moorland birds and invasive alien species such as the Japanese knotweed.

To report hearing a cuckoo, please visit www2.habitas.org.uk/records/submit-cuckoo-record.

For any other species, please follow the links on the www2.habitas.org.uk/records/home.

For more information on biodiversity in the local area, please contact Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s Biodiversity Officer, Julie Corry, by telephoning 0300 303 1777 (calls charged at local rate), text phone 028 8225 6216 or email julie.corry@fermanaghomagh.com.