The cuckoo bird… a cruel but efficient little bastard
It seems that your average cuckoo bird is not what you would label a good parent. It relies on other birds to do the dirty work for her. How so?
Well, it seems that the mother cuckoo bird scouts out the surrounding area for nests belonging to some of its fellow birds. Favorites include the pipit, warbler, and robin. This is mainly because the eggs of that species, while much larger, are very similar in color to that of our friend, the cuckoo. The cuckoo, upon seeing one of these nests will wait for the owner to vacate it for a meal. Seizing this opportunity, the cuckoo will then lay one of her eggs in the nest along side those of the other species and off she goes. Since cuckoo’s can lay up to 25 eggs during their breeding season, competition for nesting places is quite fierce.
Here comes the strange part. About 12 days later, the cuckoo’s egg will hatch and the surrogate mother has no idea that it doesn’t belong to her. She will feed it as one of her own. As the cuckoo chick grows, it will either push the other chicks and/or unhatched eggs out of the nest until it is the last one remaining. This ensures that the chick will be the recipient of all of the food that the “surrogate” mother brings back. This behavior goes on even though the cuckoo might grow much larger than the original parenting birds. It will also use its call to mimic other types of birds, enticing them into providing the chick with a free meal. Once the cuckoo reaches an age when in can fly, its outta there with not so much as a thank you.
Now, as for the cuckoo clock……