I was watching peregrines in Wakefield city centre this afternoon when I saw a bird flying over the lower end of the precinct. I saw it only briefly but I said to those around me, “I think I’ve just seen a cuckoo.” About thirty minutes later, a member of the public approached me to tell me about a dead bird that he had found next to his car, which was parked near The Spaniard. He knew that it was something unusual and he mentioned that he thought it might be a cuckoo.
I walked around to the car and I found that there really was a dead cuckoo. There were no marks on the bird and I assume that it flew into something.
I’ve spent many hours over several years watching peregrines in Wakefield and I’ve seen a number of other bird species but this is the first cuckoo that I’ve seen. How strange that it should die so soon after being spotted.
The good news is that the cuckoo will enter the natural history collection of Manchester Museum as a preserved skin. The skin will be available for people to study now and for many years to come.