Cuckoo in the News

Cuckoo under Investigation

I heard on the 8:00 am Radio 4 News this morning (Tue 7 June 2011) that a birding organization –¬† I think the British Trust¬† for Ornithology – are radio tagging five strong male cuckoos in an attempt to discover why they are in such decline. Well good for them, a great move in the right direction, I haven’t heard a single Cuckoo yet this year and they are one of my very favorite birds.

Problems in the Cuckoo Migration?

I do recall that it has been suggested that the Cuckoo may be subject to some “attrition” either on their migration to and from Central Africa or even during their stay on the African Continent. It is thought possible that many thousands of birds may die during their migratory flight and that environmental and climatic changes in Africa may be having an adverse effect on Cuckoo numbers.

And Now – the Collared Dove

The Collared Dove was featured as No. 10 in this years “Biggest Losers” list, again by the BTO. I did some fairly cursory checking and it seems this bird has been in a very slight decline over the 2005 – 2011 period. The RSPB still gives it Green Status, which it truly deserves. I would have thought that the Turtle Dove might have caused more comment which has only Amber status and is definitely more under threat than the Collared Dove.

1955 – Collared Dove Settles in Britain

That’s right they’ve only been resident since 1955 and their success is stupendous. Since then they have steadily and dramatically increased their numbers except for the period 1985 – 1990 when they went into a slight decline but continued to increase after that. I did not find anything noteworthy during these two 5-year periods that might help explain these very moderate declines (no significantly different weather, for instance) so I conclude that unless the trend continues, or becomes more severe, that the Collared Dove will ride out this decline as it did the earlier, 1985 – 1990 episode. I personally have not seen a Collared Dove this year.

Anyway check out this link if you’d like: National Losers (

Thanks, “Bridie”.



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