Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cuckoo for Katydids!

While I was wandering alone on the boardwalk at Magee Marsh, I heard this very odd sound coming from just above me. Yes, I know, I always hear odd sounds coming from overhead, but this one was real. I'm not going to try to type 'kukukuk' 'cause that would just look stoopid. But, just try to imagine hearing that sound emanating very softly from overhead. Being in the midst of summer with all the glorious leaves out in their full splendor (much to the dismay of all the birders trying to find the thing that's making that odd 'kukukukuk' sound overhead), finding the source was difficult.
Until I saw a little movement. And there it was, a smallish bird with a white belly and dark back, rather nondescript. Then I realized that little bird was just squeaking and the kukuking was coming from within the leaves. It was a very young Yellow-billed Cuckoo waiting for mom or dad to fill his empty gullet! This was only the second opportunity I've had to photograph a Yellow-billed Cuckoo and what a great opportunity it was!

As a side story, I went to visit my buddies at Black Swamp Bird Observatory and show off the rewards of my magnificent morning at the Marsh. Kimmay, Hugh Rose and Karen Zach were all excited to see my photos of the fledgling Cuckoo and Karen mentioned that she had never seen one in the 'feather' before.
As I was leaving Karen came out into the lot with me and lo and behold as we spoke, a Cuckoo flew across the lot and into the trees across from us. Then as if on command, he flew back into the tree behind BSBO! Karen has a new life bird now! What a coincidence!
Show me what you have there! Oh, a yummy young Katydid, delicious AND nutritious!
Anyone that has finicky kids will understand this feeding technique. Open wide and cram it down!

"Eeewwww, I can feel it wigglin' in me!"

This is what I first saw when I looked up. Them youngsters sure are hard to ID!

*Part Two of the "Marvelous Day at Magee"...
Here you can see the lovely Kimmay Kaufman making sure her finely manicured nails are still in tip top shape while my bro-in-law, Herb Simpson(visiting from Indianapolis) and the ever-muscular me, try to change a flat tire on the KimsterMobile. We managed to loosen three of the four lugs. That fourth one, @#*^$@^! I realize I'm not the heftiest birder alive, but I jumped up and down on that blasted lug wrench and it would not budge. Time to call AAA!
So now the Doodle's family knows how hard it is to be a birder...really, really hard...


  1. Wow! Fantastic captures!! I would love to have seen that. I photographed my first Cuckoo this spring. I love hearing that strange sound...

  2. Great stuff Dave - I saw one of these a number of years ago in the UK - stunning birds.

  3. Not only did you score some great cuckoo pics, but with them feeding their young no less! Most excellent! Sorry to hear about the flat, though. Maybe it's time to start a While Waiting for AAA birding list. I've started one for birds spotted while sitting in traffic.