Club Surveys

Cuckoo Survey 2015

Aims and methods

Cuckoo © Nigel Stewart 2014

Cuckoo © Nigel Stewart 2014

Paul Doherty requested records from all over the YOC Recording Area of singing Cuckoos during 2015 so we have a picture of where they still occur. He posted the following on 6th April: “We’ve had some beautiful spring weather over the last couple of days and I’m sure we’re all looking forward to the return of our summer migrants. The Cuckoo is one of the most distinctive, but has suffered a serious decline in the last 20 years; I’ve noticed their disappearance from some of my local areas.

Cuckoo - Allerthorpe Common © Nigel Stewart 2015

Cuckoo – Allerthorpe Common © Nigel Stewart 2015

This spring the York Ornithological Club are organising a survey of Cuckoos in our area, so that we have a more accurate picture of their status. A map showing the club’s recording area is attached and I’m hoping that every one of the fifteen 10 km squares will have at least one person reporting the presence or absence of Cuckoos. Don’t worry if you have never taken part in a survey before, this one couldn’t be simpler. The Cuckoo’s main song period is from late April to late June, so simply take a walk in some reasonable Cuckoo habitat (i.e. most areas except urban ones) during that period and let us know if you hear a singing Cuckoo or see one.

I imagine that virtually all of us will do some birding in the York area between late April and late June so this is a survey that everyone can take part in. Email this group if you find a Cuckoo or use the reporting form on the club’s website. It would also be interesting to receive reports of areas which used to hold Cuckoos until very recently, but where none are seen or heard this year.
It would be great to have as many people as possible contributing to a survey on a bird which was once a familiar part of spring, but is now much scarcer.”

Results

He posted the following on 15th July 2015 to the Yorkbirding Google Group:

“The song period for Cuckoos is now over so I’ve had another look at the reports for this year’s Cuckoo survey. I’m attaching a map which shows the distribution of records across the club area.
Cuckoo 2015 incl records by squares JPG
SE77 the 10 km square in the extreme NE of the club area is the only one with no records. The other squares are marked with red:-

Light red for 1-8 reports
Mid red for 9-16 reports
Deep red for 17-23 reports

It’s rather basic mapping and I struggle to believe that there aren’t any Cuckoos in SE77; the lack of records there may have more to do with a lack of observers. Thankfully Cuckoos are still reasonably widespread in the club area, despite the fact that they have declined by over 75% in England in the last 25 years. This survey should give us a better information base to help us judge how well (or how badly) Cuckoos are doing in our area in future years.

Many thanks to all the people who have contributed to the club’s Cuckoo survey by sending in their sightings. As well as records from the LDV Team and BirdTrack it was pleasing to have so many individuals contributing.

If you’ve got records of singing birds which haven’t been submitted then please still send them in – especially if they are from SE77!”