The Cuckoo roost and Cuckoo news
Happy 2013!! I am very sorry. This blog needs an urgent update. I have not realized that the last message was that we are not accepting visitors anymore. We DO accept visitors and the Cuckoo-story continues. I will give you an update on what has happened in the past weeks:
After our observations on the courtship behavior of our Wilito, we did not accept any visitors for several days. We tried to find the Cuckoos in the mornings in the same spot to see if they are still showing the courtship behavior or even mating. Only a few times more we saw the courtship behavior, but then Wilito did not show up anymore in that spot. We only had the adult bird around. The adult was always a lot shier than the immature and never got close enough for feeding, sometimes it would even run away quickly when seeing us, but then one morning it did not mind our presence. That morning the adult attended a swarm of smaller army ants (Labidus praedator) and stayed at the swarm for a while which gave me the chance to throw some grasshoppers at it. And finally it worked out and I was able to feed it next to the ant’s swarm. The next morning we found the immature again in that spot and while I was feeding it, the adult showed up and I ended up feeding two Cuckoos at once.
The following days I checked the same spot very early in the morning and found that Wilito was roosting there. The immature was sleeping in a thin tree next to a forest path and came down the tree for feeding when I arrived. We did not see the birds together anymore and as we could not observe any more courtship behavior, we also accepted visitors again. While the army ants were still moving further down on our neighbor’s land, I was feeding Wilito at dawn at its roost site. This was a lot easier than feeding it next to the ants for several reasons: one thing is that the Cuckoos are always a bit more distracted when the ants are swarming, another is that ants all over the place are nasty and I am allergic to these little creatures and then the biggest advantage of the roost site was a fix time. Before I always had to wait and search for the Cuckoo, at the roost site I knew when and where exactly to find it.
I could feed the immature at the roost site for a few days, but then it did not show up anymore. We found it at the ant swarm instead. Two days later I went to check the roost site with some dutch birders and again there was a Cuckoo in the tree. I wondered a bit about its behavior and when it came down from the tree I noticed that it was the adult!! Although not as tame as Wilito, it still let me feed it and did not mind the presence of our visitors.