(photo by Cindy Mead at Woodsong)
I had long suspected that black billed cuckoos were a part of the local avian fauna, but they aren't the kind of bird to present themselves in full view too often, as in Cindy's excellent photo. I've been using the audio clips at Cornell's All About Birds web site a lot to try and make sense of all the unfamiliar chirps and twitters I've been hearing lately, and I have played the black billed cuckoo's call a few times to try and commit it to memory.
This morning I heard a bird call in the woods that was vaguely familiar. I ran inside to the computer and got on the Cornell site only to find that I didn't have the required downloads to play audio clips here on the home computer. I could hear the "kuk-kuk-kuk" call outside as I waited patiently for the download and setup to complete. Finally, after setting preferences and accepting user agreements, I was able to play the call of the black-billed cuckoo. That was IT! It's amazing, this high-tech, real time birding.
Cuckoos are good to have around; they help to keep the caterpillar numbers in check. But caterpillar eaters or not, I am always thrilled to realize there is way more to the biodiversity of this place than I ever imagined.
Gotta run. I just saw an olive-backed, warbler-looking thing out the window!