CREATIVE CUCKOO: Local bird photographer Keith Ireland (inset) captured this image of a peewee with a koel chick by climbing on top of a rickety shed.
CREATIVE CUCKOO: Local bird photographer Keith Ireland (inset) captured this image of a peewee with a koel chick by climbing on top of a rickety shed. Keith Ireland

Another successful deception achieved in the cuckoo’s nest

OF all the species of birds, the one group about which there are many unanswered questions is the cuckoo family. One question often asked is 'why don't the host parents realise that the baby in the nest could not be theirs ?'

There are different theories, but by all accounts no one has yet been credited with having solved the riddle.

I received a phone call one morning from a lady who told me about a peewee's nest in a large tree in her yard. When she said that the baby kept up a constant calling and was even larger than the parents, I was quite sure there was a cuckoo in the nest. The tree was behind an old shed in the back yard and she told me that I should be able to get a good photo if I climbed up on the roof.

When I saw the run down shed and the roof, I wasn't so sure. The shed looked rickety and the roof didn't seem stable at all. Her husband leant a ladder against the side and told me I would be right as long as I kept to the cross beams and not the middle of the corrugated iron.

I set up the camera on a tripod which was still back a fair way from the nest. The cuckoo baby, which was a koel chick, was being noisy though I doubted whether the peewee parents would return with me being there.

Probably the incessant calling was too overpowering because both the adult peewees came back a succession of times which allowed me to photograph each visit. This turned out to be very fortunate for me as there was no further opportunity to photograph them. The following morning, the baby koel was out of the nest and up high in the tree with the peewees still feeding it constantly.

Another successful deception had been achieved by the koels.

FACTBOX

THE Rockhampton North Rotary Birds of Australia Calendar 2016 is now on sale in CQ.

Photographs are all by Keith Ireland.

All sale proceeds go to cancer research.

Keith Ireland often gives talks on his bird photography to community groups.

If your group would like Mr Ireland to be a guest speaker, contact him on 4928 6916.



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