Keep an ear out for de­clin­ing cuckoo

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

This spring a num­ber of peo­ple have asked me about the cuckoo. Some said they have been glad to hear one, while oth­ers are concerned about the lack of cuck­oos they have heard so far. The sad story is that cuck­oos have de­clined in Bri­tain by about 37 per cent over the past 15 years to a pop­u­la­tion of about 20,000 pairs. It is only re­cently I can re­mem­ber a num­ber of cuck­oos would fly around Dun­geness each May look­ing for meadow pipit nests and so far this year the species has nearly been ab­sent from the Point. The rea­son stems from prob­lems in Africa, where they win­ter, with land­scapes be­com­ing more arid, and the per­ils of the mi­gra­tion jour­ney across the Mediter­ranean coun­tries, where il­le­gal shoot­ing con­tin­ues in spring and au­tumn. There is also the loss of suit­able habi­tat in parts of south­ern and cen­tral Eng­land. Two species the meadow pipit and the dun­nock have both seen de­clines. How­ever, reed war­blers seem to be hold­ing their own. Male and fe­male cuck­oos look the same, while the young­sters which have been reared in the nest of the host is a brown speck­led plumage. Lis­ten out and en­joy the cuckoo if you hear one.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.