These days, I wake up...no,.. am woken up... at 5 - 5.15 in the morning...by the cuckoos. Such noisy birds! I'm sure, all the poets who praise the cuckoo's 'melodious' voice have never had to live near them! Or, maybe, they're sound sleepers!!
You know, the cries of the male and the female cuckoo are different. While the male's is the extended 'koo....ooo' (the celebrated cry!), the female's is a quick, curt, 'kukukukuk...'. And, though you can hear them, it is very difficult to catch sight of these elusive birds, especially the female. And, they are birds that seem to stick to a regular routine - a sort of a time table. Maybe, that's why, the clock makers decided to make a 'cuckoo clock' instead of a 'parrot clock, 'sparrow clock',... :)
Every year, during Feb-March, around 8.00- 8.30 a.m., I see them from our kitchen window... having a breakfast of chikoo fruits from our neighbour's tree! I like to watch them while I'm cooking our breakfast (no, I don't burn ours in the process!).
Slightly bigger than the crow, the all black male has striking red eyes. The female, of the same size, is a dull shade of spotted brown with brown and white striped feathers and the same red eyes as the male. Very neatly, they open their respective fruits, have their fill and fly away. What remains, is hogged through the day by the squirrels, smaller birds, insects,...
All my attempts to take a picture of the cuckoos have flopped since they are very sensitive to human movements. I have given up trying. But, here's a bulbul feeding on the remains...
It is the nesting season for birds...and, I simply love the sight of the birds moving around busily - carrying twigs, dry grass,... for building their nests. The cuckoos supposedly don't take time off from their singing for mundane activities like building nests. They are believed to encroach on the poor crow's shabby nest.
There's probably some truth to this belief. You know, crows chasing cuckoos is a common sight during the nesting season. Curiously, it is the male cuckoo that the crow seems to be chasing away!! So.... is this their ploy?? Maa cuckoo uses the crow's nest while Paa cuckoo diverts the crow?
Cuckoos are believed to be bad at parenting too. And, since this crows - chasing -cuckoos behaviour carries on for a few weeks, I have even wondered if the cuckoos conduct routine checks on the eggs/ chicks.
Now, that's so unlike the other definition of 'cuckoo' !!