Join us in the Year of the Common Cuckoo

Jaar van de Koekoek 2017 Sovon VogelbeschermingThe number of Cuckoos has decreased for decades, and we do not know why. In 2017 Sovon  (Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology) and the BirdLife Netherlands are going to explore the important gaps in our knowledge. Which is why we are asking if you will join us in giving the cuckoo the attention it deserves?

Knowledge to save the Cuckoo

If we want to protect the Cuckoo, then we first need to understand the crucial points in the Cuckoo’s population dynamics. To accomplish this, Sovon and BirdLife Netherlands are comparing all the data from the various monitoring networks, including Vogelatlas and Breeding bird monitoring. A thorough statistical analysis will indicate which conservation actions might be worthwhile.   

Attention for the Cuckoo:

In the mean time, we want to increase awareness of the cuckoo’s plight. Here are a few things that you can do to make a difference;

  • Share your observations and introduce the Cuckoo to others. Perhaps by organizing an excursion during the National Birdweek.
  • Download the flyer and logo and pass them on to your friends.
  • Pictures of the cuckoo can be shared via #jvdkoekoek on Instagram, twitter, and/or Facebook. Photographers of special and beautiful pictures will be mentioned at the PR-excursion, and pictures will be placed in the presentations as well as the gallery.

A scarce breeding bird

Cuckoo! Over the years the splendid mating song of a male Cuckoo has been heard less and less often. Just like the gurgling song of the female. The Cuckoo have become a scarce breeding bird. The densest populations are in open nature areas; dunes, marsh, heath, and fens.

Verspreiding Koekoek Sovon

In the graph below, you can see that there are only a few areas where the Cuckoo population is stable or increasing. 

 

Veranderingskaart Koekoek Nederland Sovon

 

Causes of the decline

Why are the Cuckoos disappearing? The answer is not fully understood because the situation is complex. As is the decline of the Cuckoo’s various host bird species, like the Meadow pipit and the Western waggle tail. An interesting question is whether enough Cuckoos survive the yearly migration to progressively deforested Africa. In addition, there are indications that the warmer springs are negatively influencing reproduction, since the host birds are breeding earlier and the Cuckoos are arriving too late to take advantage of their nests.