Skip to content

Cuckoo starts calling near the campsite

I woke this morning at around 7am to hear a cuckoo calling from across the fields. He was confidently announcing his arrival to Sussex after a long flight from Africa. He was showing off from a patch of woodland that adjoins the campsite.

Not good news for everyone

Whilst this is a fantastic sound for us humans, it might be a little more disappointing if you’re a meadow pipit or a dunnock whose nests get raided.

The female cuckoo spots a vulnerable nest by watching the movements of certain birds as they travel to and from their twiggy home.

She then waits for the coast to clear, alights on the target nest and quickly lays her egg. Once the egg is laid she removes one of the resident birds eggs, pushing it over the side and flies off to find another unfortunate bird.

Little Cuckoos

Cuckoo chicks hatch within 12 days and once large enough they will eject all other occupants of the nest, both chicks and unhatched eggs.

The adopted parents continue to feed the chicks which grow very quickly. Cuckoo chicks will often grow to be larger than their new hard working parents.

This lazy parenting allows cuckoos to leave our shores much earlier than most other migrants and they head back to Africa in June, with the young birds following later in the summer once they have built up reserves for the flight.

How to hear the cuckoo

The cuckoos will be calling around the campsite until mid to late May and you can hear them from all parts of the site. If you’re really lucky you may even get to see one. They look a bit like a hawk.