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CUCKOO BIRD MEDICINE
Scientific Name: Cuculus canorus
How did this bird, with its strange nesting habits, get a spot
at the top of these beautiful clocks?
One reason is surely its prevalence in the Black Forest Region
of Germany. Another reason
would be the unmistakable cuckoo sound made by the
bird, which is faithfully recreated by the
In Germany the cuckoo is quite common. Generally considered
a tree bird, he can also be found
outside of the forest. Each male maintains a large territory
and defends it against competitors.
The migrating cuckoos reach Europe from Africa in mid-April
Male and female adults look similar, but the immature cuckoo
has a white spot on the nape of its
neck. Its plumage is often red-brown instead of gray with stripes.
Length: 11 inches. Wingspan:
20-24 inches. Weight: 4 oz.
The cuckoos breeding season is from May through July.
The cuckoo is known for laying its
eggs in the nests of other bird species including pipits, warblers,
and robins. Once a suitable nest
is found, the laying female sits down on the nest and lays the
egg. If the nest is situated such that
this is not possible, see will lay the egg nearby on the ground,
place the egg in her bill, and carry
the egg to the nest. The eggs of the cuckoo are extraordinarily
small. The color resembles that of
the birds into which nest the eggs will be placed. Each female
puts only one egg into the nest,
usually only if the nesting bird already has her own eggs in
place. Each cuckoo may lay up to 25
eggs, 1 per nest.
The egg hatches in the nest after approximately 12 days at which
point the nesting mother bird
will feed the cuckoo as if it is her own. The cuckoo bird will
throw any remaining birds or eggs
from the nest, leaving it as the sole bird receiving food from
the nesting mother. The smaller host
parents incubate the egg and feed the young cuckoo. The host
parents will continue to feed the
cuckoo even after it grows to be much larger than they are.
A cuckoo chick will also use its call
to lure birds other than its host parents to feed it.
Decreasing cuckoo numbers in recent years are a result of habitat
loss and insecticide use.
Cuckoos are now protected.
CALL OF CUCKOO
The cuckoo's call is very distinctive and can be heard in the
evenings. Although the call carries
over long distances, the bird can be difficult to spot, as it
tend to blend in well with the trees.
When he calls, the cuckoo lowers its wings and lifts the tail,
which is followed by the
unmistakable Cuckoo" sound.
The cuckoo is named for the sound of its call in most countries:
France, coucou; Holland,
Koekoek; Germany, kuckuck Japan, kak-ko.
taken from: www.crazyaboutcuckoos.com...obird.html
---If a young girl counts the sound of notes from a cookoo bird
at beginning of spring, she will
marry in that # of years.
If girl hears sound of cuckoo bird she will marry before upcoming
taken from: www.angelfire.com/sd/love...omens.html
Keynote: Heralding of New Fate
Cycle of Power: Spring
In every European language, the name of this bird was chosen
because of the sound it makes. Its
call is the spring mating song of the male. As you will see,
its song has always been associated
with a heralding of new fate.
On yet another level, its song indicates that you should hone
your listening skills. There will be
things unsaid by those around you that, if you listen, you will
learn about them. Listen to what is
not being said. Trust your hearing.
The cuckoo is a relative of the road runner, and you may wish
to study it to find even more
connections to your own life. a study of the colors of the cuckoo
that has come into your life will
also provide insight into the role or the new fate about to
unfold. Usually it is the color of the bill
that stands out most strongly. The bill is usually either yellow
or black. It reflects how your own
communications should be. If it is a black-billed cuckoo, you
may want to be extra cautious
about what you say and to whom. If it is a yellow, it may reflect
a time of sharing knowledge that
is about to approach.
The cuckoo no longer builds its own nest. In Europe, the cuckoo
acts much like the cowbird in
that it will lay its eggs in the nests of other birds. It will
usually choose a nest with eggs that
match its own in color. The American cuckoo does not do this.
anytime a cuckoo shows up,
though, it will reflect a change in home or family. Something
new will be heralded within that environment.
The cuckoo is one of the few birds that will touch the fuzzy/hairy
caterpillar. It is not bothered by
the outer covering. For those with this totem, this reflects
opportunity to develop the ability to
assimilate that which could not before. It can reflect less
sensitivity to others, and an increased
ability to get beneath the surface. It reflects opportunities
to experience the real person--
regardless of outer appearances.
The cuckoo will also eat the very destructive tent caterpillars.
It thus can often reflect lessons
associated with eliminating what has been eating at us, so that
we can experience new life. It can
reflect a time of eliminating the negative in our life, again
heralding a new spring--if only
The cuckoo is a slow and deliberate bird. It has a gracefully
curved bill and a unique
arrangement of toes on its feet. It has two toes in front and
two in back. It provides balance and
stability. Together these qualities reflect a need not to look
for the quick and easy. It reflects a
new spring arising, but to move with its energies slowly and
deliberately. The cuckoo is a bird
that can teach us how to allow the flow of life and all of its
rhythms to unfold easily and
gracefully. It teaches how not to suffer in our growth. by approaching
life slowly and
deliberately, everything unfolds in the time, manner, and means
most beneficial to us.
The cuckoo has long been a symbol of new fate and conditions
within the lives of humans. Most
of the old beliefs center around its song and when it is heard.
It was considered good luck to
have money on you when its first call of the spring is heard.
It is still believed by many that if you
make a wish on its song it will be fulfilled. Whatever you are
doing when you first hear its song,
you should do frequently throughout the year for good luck.
The call was considered a sign that
activity would be beneficial to you. For single people, the
number of calls or notes would often
indicate the number of years the person would be unmarried or
have to wait to be married.
If the cuckoo sound came from the right, it could reflect good
luck, but if it came from the left,
many believed it indicated an ill fate. Even today, especially
in Europe, many believe you can
predict rain accurately by its call. At one time it was even
called the "rain crow."
In Sweden, the direction from which it was heard would reflect
specifically the kind of fate that
would likely ensue. If the cuckoo was heard in the north, it
would indicate sorrow. If heard in the
East, it would reflect consolation. If it came from the south,
death, and from the west, good luck.
Usually if a bird or animal has this much folklore and mythology
about it, it is worth examining.
It usually reflects dynamic archetypal energies, that even if
not fully understood, are definitely
felt. Working with the cuckoo can help you to use it and its
song to help you understand what
new fate is coming into your life. It is a bird that can teach
the gift of intuitive heraldry
As a kid in England it was always a big deal to hear the
cuckoo for the first time. The hours I spent sitting in the
listening for that call, 'Cuckoo, Cuckoo' it was magical. Running
in to tell my Mum, I heard it, I heard it! We would all go outside
and listen for the continuing call together as a family. Then
we would have cucumber sandwiches, and a glass of lemonade.
It always, to me, sounded like it was a long way away, and I
expect it was as it wasn't in our garden which was quite big.
I could never tell if it came from the left or right, it was
just there in the air. Maybe though that was why the grown ups
out to listen as well, I was probably too young to understand
that, although I was brought up in the old ways.
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