Dates of the First Cuckoo in Spring 1916-2000
By Harry Green
|Dates of first Cuckoo heard each year at
Holly Dene, Moorgate Road, Stoke Prior, Bromsgrove,
Worcestershire, B60 4AW (grid ref SO 955658) by the
Honeybourne family (father and daughters Dorothy and
Margaret) are shown in table 1. Records started on
Margaret's day of birth 20th April 1916 when her father
started to note the dates on the wall of the outdoor
privvy! These were later transcribed to paper and the
recording is still continuing - on paper!. The dates in
the table to the left were copied from the paper record
by Harry Green 5th July 2001. Very many thanks to Dorothy
and Margaret Honeybourne for for allowing us to report
this remarkable series of records.
Dorothy and Margaret also commented that Cuckoos were much less commonly recorded in recent years and they thought arrival dates were getting later. Once they had a dunnock's nest occupied by a cuckoo nestling in their garden hedge. Note the only March date is in 1920.
Andrew Fraser collected much information about the distribution of cuckoo records in Worcestershire in 2001. We await the analysis with interest. He comments that it's the first year he has not heard a cuckoo.
Table 2. Records according to date of month.
Conclusion is that cuckoos generally return in April, and
that some dates are very unpopular! I suspect these
latter anomalies arise from the daily activities of the
recorders rather than the cuckoos' real dislike for
certain arrival dates!
Table 1: Dates of first Cuckoo heard each year at Holly Dene, Moorgate Road, Stoke Prior, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, B60 4AW (grid ref SO 955658) by the Honeybourne family
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