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Super Dog
Cats Smile, Too
Elephant Brains
Poodle Cut... why?
Foxes in London   Distant Cousins
The Passenger
Puffy & Poisonous
The Ancient Horseshoe Crab Perfumed Parrot
The Common Cuckoo Let Them Eat Grass!
Shark Teeth Return of the Bedbug...


  No image tugs on our heartstrings so much as a mother bird tending to her eggs. These pristine rounds will soon bear fruit, and their parents will flutter around, happy but exhausted, feeding their young and eventually teaching them to fly. The Common Cuckoo shatters that charming fantasy with its very existence.  



A brood parasite, the Common Cuckoo lays her eggs in the nests of other birds, essentially leaving her children on someone else’s doorstep. Don’t feel sorry for these young ones, however, they will survive. Their adopted siblings will not be so lucky.

The Common Cuckoos live across the Old World, ranging from Spain to Japan. Each local community of cuckoos has its own host species, and their eggs resemble those of the unsuspecting birds they target. After the host bird lays her eggs, the cuckoo descends upon her nest as soon as she leaves to find food. This feathered visitor pushes one of the eggs from the nest, and quickly lays one of her own in its place. Oblivious to the cuckoo egg’s presence, the mother bird tends to her brood, keeping the eggs warm and protecting them from predators. After only 12 days, usually before the other eggs hatch, the cuckoo chick bursts from its shell and ejects the other eggs from the nest.

The foster parents give all of the food to their one remaining chick, which will grow to be several times larger than its hosts! This enormous chick will leave the nest after roughly 21 days, leaving its adopted parents childless and exhausted. The cycle will begin anew the following year when the young cuckoo deposits her first egg in the nest of an unsuspecting neighbor. What would Mother Goose think?