Its Rainig Cuckoos - Literally

Subject: Its Rainig Cuckoos - Literally
From: "Mark Sanders" <>
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 2004 12:23:03 +0000
hi all,

Just had the most unusual experience that I thought might intrigue some of you.

We have a pair of Torresian Crows, which to my displeasure, have decided to nest in a large tree in the back yard. Not being able to do much about it, I have but up with them in the hope that something interesting might happen and they get parasitised by Channel-billed Cuckoos.

Unfortunately, I have been away for about 5 weeks on the trot...and hence have had little or no opportunity to check the identify or status of the nesting crows. However after returning tonight for a short break I was sitting at the computer entering faunal records (as one does) when an almighty racket came from the back yard. While some of the noise was obviously crows, I was unclear on the remaining noise.

I headed out the back to check, as the din increased, I stood for only a second or two before a large object fell from the nest tree. The object, which turned out to be a bird headed straight for the veranda, where I was standing. Had I not ducked I'm not sure if I would have an eye right now as the bird turned out to be a Channel-billed Cuckoo (anyone who has seen these beasts up close will appreciate the formidable weapon they carry). It would have been quite literally conked me fair in the head. Confused the bird floundered on the veranda until I was able to gather myself and grab the animal.

I assumed at first that it would have been a young bird that must have fallen out of the crows nest. However, the animal lacked they typical young bird gap, had a full sized tail and most importantly had no signs of distinctive growth rings that young birds have in their tail feathers. This was a fully adult bird! (Further evidence of this was the ease with which the animal took to the air from a low branch once realised.)

Now this bizarre experience posses some interesting questions. Is it typical for a adult Channel-billed Cuckoo to roost in trees where nesting crows can be found? Why would the crows put up with this species in the same tree or did the Cuckoo get itself into the tree by stealth? And why did the bird fall from the tree (did the crows locate it during the night and hunt it out)?

I have my doubts if the Cuckoo was trying to lay eggs into the nest by darkness as the nest was built some 7-9 weeks ago. I suspect that any crow eggs would have already been laid and hatch at this point of time. But without further observations have no direct evidence. I intend to check early tomorrow to see if anything is in the nest.

Sometimes nature can through something at you that is really bizarre...even in your own suburban back yard!


Mark Sanders

Birding-Aus is now on the Web at
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message 'unsubscribe
birding-aus' (no quotes, no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Its Rainig Cuckoos - Literally, Mark Sanders <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU