Re: birding-aus Rushworth, Cuckoos & other things

To: Susan Myers <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus Rushworth, Cuckoos & other things
From: Dr Richard Nowotny <>
Date: Sat, 31 Jul 1999 12:56:15 +1000
Hi, Susan.  Re the apparent early arrival of this species, wasn't there an
interesting, and apparently authoritative, contribution to b-aus recently
which dealt with this same issue and made the case that many of the host
species for cuckoos commence breeding in mid-winter rather than spring and
that therefore the cuckoos must, and do, arrive in time to anticipate this
breeding.  The message was that unlike the northern hemisphere, with its
hostile winters (and therefore necessarily spring breeding), breeding in
Australia is not so focussed on spring.
It would also be likely that the arriving cuckoos would be far less visible
in mid-winter, ie before they actually commence breeding, because they
would not have commenced calling.
All of this suggests that it may be a misconception amongst us birders that
mid-winter cuckoo sightings are unusual.  What do you think?  Is there
evidence which either supports or refutes this thesis?

At 05:58 PM 7/28/99 +1000, you wrote:
>The highlight of the day (and the point of this email) was an adult
Black-eared Cuckoo observed very well perched in a Yellow Gum for about
5~10 minutes at Coy's Diggings. Chris Lester reliably informs me that this
species was a semi-regular visitor to this spot in the past but I think
this may be the first record for a while. Even given this, it seems
remarkably early in the season for this species.

From:    Dr Richard Nowotny,
             Melbourne, Australia.
             Tel. (w) 61-3-9214.1420

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