Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Yellow-billed Cuckoo aka. Storm Crow aka. Rain Crow (colloq.)
Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Brooklyn, NYC, USA
July 2015
Member of the Cuckoo Family
§An Asylum of Cuckoos§

~true bird fact~ Nesting pairs of Cuckoos have a bold move to scare off predators called a "distraction display". One bird stays on the nest and the other attempts to distract the predator, basically by acting injured. The bird will fly to an openly visible perch and make weak flapping and hopping motions, hoping to get the intruder off the trail of the nest. Cool trick!

Commits faux pas, but then doubles down on them proudly
Gets followed a lot by small time paparazzi
A bad example for kids, but doesn't care
In some ways, being thrust into the spotlight at a young age and the way we treat celebrity in general in our culture is an explanation of the Cuckoo's behavior and an acquittal of the Cuckoo herself. Still rubs you the wrong way, even though you know this.

One interesting note about this picture- it was taken as the former Bird of the Year candidate sat like this for a long time, while an increasingly agitated American Robin shouted at him and fluttered around. Eventually the Cuckoo was driven away. My amateur theory, knowing what I know about this bird, is that he was hoping to frighten the Robin away from her nest. The Yellow-billed Cuckoo, like our last subject, the Brown-headed Cowbird, is a brood parasite, meaning it lays eggs in the nest of other birds. Perhaps this was step one in the process of 'get another bird to raise your young'? The Cuckoo, however, unlike the Cowbird, is not strictly a brood parasite, so who knows.

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