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Inspiring and Supporting Photographers of Australian Birds

Fan-tailed Cuckoo

Fan-tailed Cuckoo (Image ID 43990)
Photographed byMichael Hamel-Green on Sat 19th Dec, 2020 and uploaded on Wed 23rd Dec, 2020 .
Resolution1400x867
Viewed310
ID43990
CommentCuckoos seem to have made a deep impression on many a composer. If you take a stroll with Beethoven in the second movement of his Sixth Symphony you will hear a cuckoo as you walk beside him along a forest stream, “cuck-oo, cuck-oo”, intoned by a clarinet or oboe. For Delius, penning his dreamy “On hearing the first cuckoo in spring”, the cuckoo marked entry into a new season with all its freshness, beauty and new beginnings. My photo is of seeing a juvenile Fan-Tailed Cuckoo for the first time in summer, or, if the truth be told, for the first time ever. It was a little difficult to distinguish from a Pallid Cuckoo but the mottled breast and tinge of brown mark it out as a juvenile Fan-Tailed Cuckoo. Cuckoos, of course, despite their evocative calls, have a lazy side when it comes to raising their young. The Fan-Tailed is no exception. It deposits it eggs in the dome nests of unsuspecting thornbills and wrens. The tiny workaholic scrub birds then do all the hard work of hatching and feeding the cuckoo fledglings. A little like those English aristocrats for whom the whole process of nurturing babies and bringing up offspring is just oh-so-tiresome; so they employ a wet-nurse, then a nanny, and finally an elite boarding school to do the job. The only time the child sees his parents is for a peck on the cheek just before being sent to bed. There is probably an evolutionary reason for cuckoo reproductive behavior, and indeed, few species are perfect, least of all the human species in which cuckoldry and contracting out the complex business of child-rearing are not entirely unknown practices. So I will try not to be too judgmental and will most definitely be listening out for Fan-Tail “pee-woos” and “pee-whees” this summer, autumn, and, most importantly as Delius commends, next spring.
EquipmentNikon Z7 with Nikon 300mm PF f/4 telephoto
ISO 1250
1/800th f8
LocationWoodlands Historic Park, Victoria
Keywordsjuvenile
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