Have you heard the first cuckoo call of spring?

Published: 23rd March 2016

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council needs your help this spring to listen out for the call of the cuckoo.  We are appealing to local people to report when and where they first hear the cuckoo call.  In previous years the earliest it has been heard is the 6th of April.  For many people hearing a cuckoo is a sure sign that spring has arrived but in recent years it is thought that their numbers have gone into decline.

The key information which we want to record includes where the cuckoo is seen or heard (postcode or grid reference if possible), what type of habitat in which it is heard, and the dates when the cuckoo call is heard.  This information will then be used to build up a picture of when the cuckoo first arrives in the area and where it lives whilst it’s here. Unfortunately the opportunity to spot cuckoos is quite brief so we need all the help we can get.

Cuckoos have a fascinating lifestyle, where they secretly lay their eggs in the nest of other birds. Their eggs hatch earlier and their chicks grow quicker, usually bullying the other chicks out of the nest!  They don’t go to the trouble of building their own nests!

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 sparrowhawk. Juveniles are grey-brown and heavily streaked.

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

To report your sightings or records, please log on to http://www2.habitas.org.uk/records/submit-cuckoo-record, or forward the details by email to the biodiversity officer in Fermanagh and Omagh District, Julie Corry, at julie.corry@fermanaghomagh.com.

Ends

For further information please contact Elizabeth Harkin, tel: 0300 303 1777 or email Elizabeth.harkin@fermanaghomagh.com

 

 

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