I am fortunate to have heard the cuckoo every year since I moved here in 2008; one year I saw 3 fly from one tree in early summer. There are a fair number of dunnocks around me and they are a preferred host for the cuckoo, and lots of trees to provide the caterpillars that the adults eat. I have some footage here (taken on my phone) of a male cuckooing away from the top of a dead tree on one of my regular dog-walking haunts:

I saw a beautiful photo of a cuckoo on Instagram taken by @jj.images and she kindly let me use the photo as a resource. I added some foliage and a wary dunnock to the composition, and the barred plumage was a joy to carve.

I am really pleased with how it has turned out. I had considered finding that other classic cuckoo pose of tail up, wings down, as shown here in two of my bird books:

I liked the more contemplative (conniving?) look of the photo I used, and wanted to capture some tension between the parasite and host.

This print is for sale at £15, and I currently have 3 incarnations. As with all my prints, the outcome varies so although they are from the same sheet of Lino, they are all a bit different, and I love that. Which one do you like best?

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