British Wildlife of the Week: Cuckoo

The tale of the cuckoo is a well-known one, liberally sprinkled with deception, suspense – and murder. Famously, the female lays her eggs in the nests of other birds and relies on unwitting foster parents to raise her offspring. It might be tempting, therefore, to view the cuckoo as the ‘bad guy’ – a rogue and a fraudster unfairly taking advantage of an innocent family – but we must avoid making moral judgement through the human lens of what we consider right and wrong. Far from being lazy, selfish birds that shirk all parental responsibilities, cuckoos deserve respect for their ingenious methods.