First Cuckoo

The 14th April is St. Tiburtius Day and is traditionally when you will hear the first cuckoo, as celebrated in Rudyard Kipling’s Cuckoo Song:

Cuckoo, bring your song here!
Warrant, Act and Summons, please,
For Spring to pass along here!


The cuckoo migrates north from Africa and the date of its arrival, although traditionally the 14th April, varies in different parts of the country.

The first sighting is often in the far South West, in the Isle of Scilly and then gradually moves northwards. In recent years the cuckoo has tended to arrive on average five days earlier than usual, likely due to climate change.

On hearing the first cuckoo in spring it is traditional to pen a letter to The Times but you can also send your reports to us here - we'd love to hear from you. Just let us know when and where you heard it.

Previous years: 2017     2016    2015     2014     2013     2012     2011     2010   

Want to learn more about cuckoos? You may be interested in the following:

Cuckoo: Cheating By Nature
Singing Toy Cuckoo
Cuckoo Call

First Cuckoo Hartlip 2018

Marie Evans wrote to tell us that a group of Kent Wildlife Trust volunteers heard a cuckoo today at 1:00 pm in Hartlip, Kent. Of course it is far too early for cuckoos to have returned from Africa so what they probably heard was a collared dove.

First Cuckoo Heybridge 2017

Len Miles head his first cuckoo today in Heybridge, Maldon, Essex.

First Cuckoo Broomfield 2017

Wendy Easton heard her first cuckoo of 2017 in her garden in Broomfield north of Chelmsford, Essex.

First Cuckoo Lower Shiplake 2017

Christine Priestly wrote to tell us she hear the glorious sound of the first cuckoo sing out over the River Thames at Lower Shiplake, Oxfordshire at 11:00 am today. She commented, "Winter is finally over!"

First Cuckoo Kingswear 2017

R Hatcher from the Wildlife Sound Recording Society emailed us to let us know they heard a cuckoo calling about twenty times today near Kingswear, Devon.

First Cuckoo New Romney 2017

Peter heard a cuckoo this morning in his garden. He lives in New Romney, Kent near the RSPB Reserve.

First Cuckoo Bridgwater 2017

Stephen Packer wrote to say he heard a cuckoo at 08:45 am today in Bridgwater, Somerset. He asked if it was unusual to hear one this early.

It is very unlikely that what Stephen heard was a cuckoo as they do not return to the UK when it is still so cold. It could have been a collared dove.

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