Cuckoo's Nest


(One Flew Over the)
Week 6/26: Inspired by TV/Film

I have had a long time mystery solved by getting a photograph for this theme. Over the past few years, in the summer I have been hearing a sound a bit like water gurgling down a drain, coming from one of the large trees in front of our house. I even tried to record it so I could get someone to identify what was making the noise. I never was able to spot the bird or work out what it might be.

The other day while walking through the fields, over the snow which is now about 3 or 4 feet above the ground, I spotted this nest wedged neatly in the fork of this tree. I was photographing it as it looked so intricate, finely woven and yet somehow sturdy, and the film title "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" came to mind. The film had nothing to do with birds, of course. That didn't stop me from making that association and so when I came home and was working with it, I wondered if they even have cuckoos here. I got out my trusty iBird app ( +Fraser Brooks​ AKA Bigfoot) and searched for Cuckoos in my area and, sure enough, the black billed cuckoo is indeed found in Nova Scotia. I played the sound on the app and there it was ! The water gurgling down the drain sound! It was nothing like the cuckoo calls I knew from Europe, which is why I had not made the connection.

For those who don't know, cuckoos do not make their own nests, they lay their eggs in the nests of more industrious birds who then, all unaware of the invasion, raise the hatched cuckoo in with their own young. If the host bird is small the growing cuckoo will gradually push out all of the legitimate young from the nest and grow to its comparatively monster size at their expense, exhausting the confused parents while it does so. So every nest is a potential cuckoo's nest.

I went back a day later (after another snowfall and bout of windy weather) and the nest was gone. Just a bit of the bottom was left firmly attached to the base. Hopefully that will serve as a base to build a new one for the season soon to come. And maybe a cuckoo will lay an egg in it. It will be too high for me to be able to see it so well and hopefully to keep it safe from ground predators.

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#BWProject26 | Curated by +Tisha Montgomery+Brandon Luk+Lauri Novak+Alison Christensen

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65 Responses

  1. This is maybe one of the few benefits to be able to walk 3 or 4 feet above the ground, you can take photographs from stuff upp in the tree… :o) I love this image, the details and your processing!

  2. +Lee B. Strickland
    What a poignant story,, Lee. It was very powerful movie and I'm not surprised that it affected you so deeply, given your personal experience.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Lee. And for your compliment about the photograph.

  3. Lee B. Strickland Thank you for sharing. WE got to see 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' while we were in Sicily. We sat through it and were in the car for our usual afternoon ride and it hit me!!! I have never cried that much and that long ever before. I scared Tom and he pulled the car off the road and held me. I guess the story was so intense. Also I had a retarded brother that never talked. He would not have survived in a place like that. The Drs. always told us he would not make to adulthood. He passed away in 1993. 10 months after my mom. He was in his 50's. I know I won't see the movie again. Lovely bird's nest. Thank you for sharing, Ellie Kennard.

  4. +Liz C thanks a lot, Liz. There are some fascinating things that go on right under our noses, that we don't have any idea of. I'm learning more of them every day myself. Like the cuckoo noise. 🙂

  5. +Karen Cooper I'm glad you like it and found it interesting. I started my bird watching in Suffolk and initially attended an evening class that was instructed by Jeremy Sorenson, the then warden of Minsmere bird reserve. I was bitten by the bug and that was in the early 70's (+RSPB Minsmere​) Jeremy and I and Steven subsequently became good friends. I learned a lot from him. It's wonderful that you have your dad to give you some help with identification and even better that you have a bird invasion of sorts around you. Sometimes I think that they are always there, but until we learn to look, we don't see the creatures around us.

  6. Fabulous picture – and I've learnt something too :0) For some glorious reason we're getting more and more birds in the trees on our street and even a few brave birds (or daft because of the cats next door) into our garden and I'm slowly learning to identify them by their call – aided too by a iPhone app or some bad bird imitations too my dad who just knows these things !

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