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A Gift

Black-Billed Cuckoos are shy, elusive birds. In five years of enthusiastic birding, I'd only ever seen one once--and I only saw him because my birding companion played a recorded call, convincing him that a rival male was in his territory.

Until today! I was hiking Greenbelt Pathway West when this fellow came right out in the open. He had apparently found an oak tree full of food (perhaps caterpillars--cuckoos have a voracious appetite for them), and was too caught up in his feeding frenzy to bother hiding from me.

It really felt like a gift from the universe.

Pink LadyslippersKatydid nymph on hawkweed


May 29th, 2012 at 4:04 pm
Beautiful bird... I hope to see one in person sometime!

May 29th, 2012 at 5:32 pm
Beautiful picture too, by the way...

May 29th, 2012 at 8:37 pm
What a gorgeous shot! I have only seen one once, never photographed one, but have heard them numerous times. It looks like I'll have to spend some more time in the west end this summer!

May 30th, 2012 at 9:35 am
It certainly came as a surprise, and I don't know if the cuckoo I found was just exploiting a caterpillar infestation or such or actually nested in the area. I was near Carling and Rifle at the time. There's a small parking area by that intersection, if you park there, cross Carling, and follow the trail parallelling Rifle Road for a few minutes, you'll get to the spot where I was.

June 3rd, 2012 at 7:50 am
Thanks for the tip! I'll have to check it out sometime soon. I was hoping to this weekend but between the weather and my fiance's schedule I don't think it will happen.