Channel-Billed Cuckoo

Subject: Channel-Billed Cuckoo
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005 00:53:12 EST
Dear Marian,

I hope you don't mind me emailing you, I have been conversing with Peter Madvig & he suggested you may be able to help me, at least steer me in the right direction! I have a 5 week old channel-billed cuckoo, although I didn't know that's what it was for the first 3 weeks. Late one evening on the October long weekend we found a noisy baby bird beside our driveway. It was only just out of it's shell & we were clueless as to what it was, except it was probably a largish bird. I rang WIRES several times, but no one ever returned my call. It was a little touch & go as to whether it would make it, but as it grew (& grew!) our best guess was a kookaburra, but it appeared to have a currawongs beak! A friend was eventually able to ID it for us, so now I have been trying to work out the best plan of action for it's well being & eventual release. I understand you have quite extensive exerience in this area for many birds, although Peter was unsure as to whether you had had one of these birds. I would imagine the principle would be similar at least. They have very strong instincts, especially to migrate, I have been told. I have a few questions, you may possibly be able to answer, but I mostly want to know the best way to go about preparing Oscar for surviving in the wild. I have him in a cage, but it is not at all large, & he would need to practise his flying I would think. I would try & find someone with this facility, but I have been told to keep him in the area as I believe that the (birth/biological!) parents often come back & the juvenile will then migrate with them.

Do you know, is this always the case, & roughly how old would the juvenile usually be when this would occur?

If the parents don't come back, at what stage/age would a juvenile be capable of looking after itself?

And what can I be doing to ensure the birds best chances of being successfully released?

I hope you will be able to help direct me in these matters, as I would very much like Oscar to be a happy free bird! They are fascinating birds & I have very much enjoyed the journey I'm sharing with Oscar (could have done without those 3am feeds though!). I only saw an adult one for the first time a few months ago, Oscars father I would guess, as he was being pursued by currawongs & soldier birds, after having lured them away from the nest. I was puzzled by it's call & then when I saw it I was even more puzzled!

Hoping you can direct me in these matters,


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