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 – we’d love to hear from you. Just let us know when and where you heard or saw it.

Track the cuckoos

On our cuckoo map

Every year we get lots of people telling us they’ve heard cuckoos well before April, but cuckoos are very unlikely to have made their way back from Africa in January, February, or early March, so it’s probably a case of mistaken identity.

If you think you’ve heard a cuckoo very early on have a read of this for more information. 

Anna Springett heard a cuckoo yesterday at 4:45 am in Laddingford, Kent.

Deborah Jefferis heard a cuckoo yesterday in Oakham, Rutland.

B Williams heard a cuckoo today in Hermon, Carmarthenshire, Wales.

He said, “I think I saw it yesterday in woodland, but wasn’t sure as not seen one before. Today I heard it near our farmhouse.”

Jenna heard a cuckoo calling for 10 minutes today as she was walking her dog. The call came from Sparham Pools Nature Reserve off Lyng Road, Sparham Norfolk.

Lesley Morgan heard a cuckoo yesterday in Kilmore, Sleat, Isle of Skye.

Mark Davies heard a cuckoo yesterday in Ilston on Gower, Swansea.

Jayne Lewis heard a cuckoo today at Avon Meadows, Pershore, Worcestershire.

She said, “First return of our small new community on the community owned wetlands with habitat improved over a decade ago. This is long established wetlands along the River Avon but the cuckoos moved here up from another site at Wick.”

Rachel Cornish heard a cuckoo today in North Newton, Bridgwater, Somerset.

She said she heard it at about 5:30 am.

Jo Stevens heard a cuckoo today in Ribblehead, North Yorkshire.

Amanda heard a cuckoo today in Wheetley, Warwickshire.

Jo Stevens heard a cuckoo in Ribblehead, North Yorkshire.

JD heard a cuckoo at Blackmoor Golf Course, Whitehill, Bordon, Surrey. 

Celia heard a cuckoo today in Greenholme, Cumbria.

Rebecca Thompson heard a cuckoo just outside Eynsham, Oxfordshire.

Robert Warren heard a cuckoo  on the 19th April at Langley Common, Weavers Down,  Hampshire.

Rickie Neville heard a cuckoo today in Mepal, Cambridgeshire.

He said, “I was fishing at a private lake and heard the cuckoo this morning.”

Susan Ringwood heard a cuckoo today at Craignure on the Isle of Mull.

Holly Budgen heard a cuckoo today at Oxen Park Farm, Lower Ashton, Devon.

Jackie Newberry heard a cuckoo on the 19th April in Hook, Hampshire.

Graham Swift heard a cuckoo on the 19th April at Sutton Hoo, near Woodbridge, Suffolk.

Dianne heard a cuckoo yesterday in Aberedw, Powys.

She said, “I was walking alongside the River Edw about halfway between Aberedw and Llanbadarn y Garreg and heard the cuckoo on the hill (Llandeilo Hill).”

Carole Bolton heard a cuckoo today in Mortimer, Berkshire.

Will Irvine heard a cuckoo yesterday in New Radnor, Powys.

Mark Pritchard heard a cuckoo today in Cannock Chase, Staffordshire.

Lulu heard a cuckoo today at Gilfach Nature Reserve, Rhayader.

Phil Sutton heard a cuckoo yesterday at Chiltern Forest Golf Club, Halton, Aston Clinton, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

Shani Broome heard a cuckoo today when looking north from Hound Tor on Dartmoor, when returning to the car park.

Ros Abbott heard a cuckoo today in Grasmere, Cumbria.

Jenny Harris heard a cuckoo today in Titchwell, Norfolk.

Victorine Smith heard a cuckoo today in Hackleton, Northampton.

Suzy Hughes heard a cuckoo yesterday near Chearsley, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

A. Forrest heard a cuckoo on and off all morning between Trevett’s Corner and Wootton Hill, Dorset.

Sarah Clark heard a cuckoo today in Stonegate, East Sussex.

Laurene heard and saw a cuckoo today in Oakley, Buckinghamshire.

She said, “I see and hear the cuckoo in the same spot every year. There is an open field with scrubland beside it next to the village park. It was in a tree next to the field, and then flew to the edge of the scrub field.”

Bridget Pearce heard a cuckoo today in Lymington in the New Forest.

Jan and Andy Maytum heard a cuckoo today in Elan Valley, Powys, Wales.

They said, “We heard him singing on and off for at least an hour from the trees overlooking a reservoir.”

Glendda Graves heard a cuckoo this evening in Alverstone Garden Village on the Isle of Wight.

Frances heard a cuckoo today in Carradale, Argyll and Bute.

Andrew heard a cuckoo today in Rholben, Abergavenny.

Gaby heard a cuckoo on the 10th April in Raw Marsh, Belstone, Devon.

Fiona Bettles heard a cuckoo calling on and off for an hour in Golden Green, Tonbridge, Kent.

Claire Moore heard a cuckoo today in Wadhurst, East Sussex.

Philip Bohannan heard a cuckoo on the 16th April in Little Baddow, Essex.

Leila Ward heard a cuckoo today in Altnaharra, Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands.

John Brownscombe heard a cuckoo today in Newchurch, Isle of Wight.

Kathy Clarke heard a cuckoo today in Acres Down in the New Forest.

Kathryn Sagar heard a cuckoo today in Caerphilly, Wales.

She said, “Heard the sound this morning, the first of the year in dense woodland. I hear them every year in the woods and walk there every day so it’s a lovely sound first thing in the morning.”

Sarah Emanuel heard a cuckoo in Marden, Kent.

Sarah McDade heard a cuckoo on the 11th April on Elstead Common, Elstead, Surrey.

Jane Pearce-Vogan heard a cuckoo yesterday in Milford on Sea in the New Forest.

Peter Smerdon heard a cuckoo yesterday at 11:30 am in Rattery, South Devon.

Neil Middleton heard a cuckoo today in East Tytherley, Hampshire.

Jeff Cox heard a cuckoo today in Dunkery Beacon, Somerset.

Steve Downing heard a cuckoo on the 12th April in Shipley, West Sussex, near to where the storks are being bred.

Carl Johnson heard a cuckoo yesterday in Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Devon.

He said, “Heard 3 calls in the Widecombe valley north of the village.”

Vicki heard a cuckoo on the 13th April in Chiddingfold, Surrey.

Anne Head heard a cuckoo today in Lambourn, West Berkshire.

She said, “I heard my first cuckoo call this year for the first time in years and it was on a telephone call to my daughter, she was standing in Lambourn High St Car park at the time. I was thrilled as we dont hear any in our Devonshire village.”

Amanda Towl heard a cuckoo yesterday between Cressage and Kelley in Shropshire at around 10.00 a.m.

Ronnie Goodyer heard a cuckoo today in Cookworthy Forest, Devon.

He said, “We hear the cuckoo (s) every year. I heard it this morning for the first time this year. Tried to record on phone but didn’t pick up. For the day I have renamed Cookworthy “Cuckoo-Worthy’!”

We love that Ronnie. You’re the second person today who heard the cuckoo in Cookworthy Forest, so a great renaming!

Heather Bunce heard a cuckoo in Ashford, Barnstaple, Devon.

She said, “I was in our garden which backs onto fields when I heard the cuckoo singing. Such a lovely herald to spring! Reading your info on cuckoos was interested to read today is St Tiburtius Day when traditionally you hear the first cuckoo!”

Paul Hipkin heard a cuckoo in Cookworthy Forest, Devon.

Ali heard a cuckoo at Setthorns campsite, Sway, Hampshire.

Roy Dadge heard a cuckoo in his garden coming from the direction of Manor Road, Ashton, Surrey.

Catherine Swain heard a cuckoo on the 9th April in Wylde Green.

She said, ” I live in Sutton Coldfield and couldn’t sleep, I heard a cuckoo at about 5am! I know pigeons can sound like them, so I checked the call, it was definitely a cuckoo.”

Keeley Sparrow heard a cuckoo near lakes, north of Broom, Bedfordshire.

Dawn Fletcher heard a cuckoo in Combe Martin, North Devon.

She said, “I heard the cuckoo as I stood in my garden – the sound was coming from some nearby trees.”

Cuckoo Line Railway

G Williams heard a cuckoo calling today in Polegate, East Sussex.

He said, “Taking a break from a sunny cycle ride along the Cuckoo Trail when I heard such a welcome sound from the trees across the small lake in marshy land between Eastbourne and Polegate . The track follows the route of the very aptly named old Cuckoo Line Railway!”

Patricia Scott heard a cuckoo in Ford, Argyll and Bute, Scotland.

She said, “Heard the cuckoo this morning for the first time this year. A regular visitor for several years.”

Caron Stone heard a cuckoo in Oxenhope, Yorkshire.

She said, “There are some trees in the corner of the field and know that they are usually heard each year and have used these trees to rest and nest.”

Kivlan O’Brien heard a cuckoo calling for a short time on the 10th April from the football pitch by the community shop in Fittleworth, West Sussex.

Simon Charters heard a cuckoo today in Tanygrisiau, Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Kelly-Ann McGuinness heard a cuckoo on the 31st March at approximately 6:45 pm whilst walking in Swanscombe Marshes. She didn’t see the cuckoo, but recorded the sound on her phone.

Sonia Fenner heard a cuckoo in Langford, Biggleswade in Bedfordshire.

Mrs Read heard a cuckoo on Graffham Common between Midhurst and Petworth in West Sussex.

Michelle Lewis heard a cuckoo in a wooded edge of open heath and marshland at Longslade Bottom, Brockenhurst in the New Forest.

Andrew Clarke heard a cuckoo at 2:00 pm in broadleaf woodland on the edge of an open coppice area near Woolaston, Gloucestershire.

Yvette Ford heard a cuckoo in Sidlesham, West Sussex.

Tracey Peace heard a cuckoo today in Giggleswick churchyard, North Yorkshire.

Lucy Pendrick heard a cuckoo in Triscombe Stone car park in Wiveliscombe, Somerset.

Ian Sampson heard a cuckoo calling for several minutes in Hincheslea Wood, west of Brockenhurst in the New Forest.

Andy Hannaford heard a cuckoo on Cavenham Heath, near Icklingham, Suffolk.

Rebecca Bennett said she heard a cuckoo on Lydeard Hill, Quantock Hills near Bridgwater, Somerset.

Joanne Thackeray heard a cuckoo today in Stockbridge, Hampshire.

She said, “Heard the cuckoo call just around 7 pm here along the river test in the test valley.”

Christopher Stanton heard and saw a cuckoo in Richmond, London.

He said, “Not heard one in town before in 9 years. Probably moving through as only heard a calling while sitting in a tree for a short time.”

Diana Adams heard a cuckoo today at about 6:30 am at Exeter Golf and Country Club.

She said, “Not heard it from our home near the Golf course before.”

Gordon W heard a cuckoo this morning at 9:30 am above Greenock near Dougliehill Water Treatment Works.

He added, “Cuckoo was heard calling before seeing it through my telescope around 120 meters away on the south facing slope perched on a fence post in rough grassland before it flew off.”

What a shame Gordon wasn’t able to get a photograph.

Carl Williams heard a cuckoo on the 1st April in Twyford, Herefordshire. He said, “A beautiful spring day, saw our first house Martin of the year on our dog walk in the morning, and in the afternoon heard our first cuckoo from the garden perfect 👌”

Peggy Knight says she head a cuckoo in Hailsham, East Sussex.

She said, “No, this is not an April fools joke. We hear it most years and it’s coming from the same direction as is usual. We are fairly near Pevensey levels backing on to the Cuckoo line path. It’s not a pigeon as we get lots in our garden and cuckoo Is clearer. We are not twitchers but take a keen interest in wildlife and the birds in and around.”

Geoffrey Robinson emailed us to say he heard a cuckoo today in Market Harborough, Leicestershire.

He said, “I’ve never heard the call of a cuckoo before. But this morning, before 10.00 I heard cuck-oo, cuck-oo, cuck-oo, followed by a pause, a repeat call, a pause, a further call, then silence. It was in a deeper tone than I would have imagined.”

Geoffrey, you probably still haven’t hard a cuckoo, as a cuckoo with a deeper tone sounds like a collared dove.

Neil claims he heard a cuckoo from his garden which backs onto Manor Park Cemetery in Forest Gate, London.

S Pippett heard a cuckoo in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

He said, “Thought I heard it a couple of times on 29th March during the day, but then definitely heard it about 6am on 30th.”

John Cossins heard a cuckoo in Knaphill, Woking, Surrey.

He said, “I heard a cuckoo from my garden close to extensive woodland.”

Phil Laurie said he heard a cuckoo today in his garden in Harrogate.

Dinah Bugg claims to have seen a cuckoo in Wicken Fen, Cambridge on the 23rd March.

She said, “The cuckoo was seen by myself and a friend as it flew across our path into the cover of trees.”

Lesley Roberts claims to have seen a cuckoo in Brixham, Torbay.

Just one photo. It’s all we ask.

Frederick Harris heard a cuckoo today in woods near Haywards Heath Golf Club, West Sussex.

Lyn heard a cuckoo today in Bramshaw in the New Forest.

Maggie Jephcott claimed to have heard a cuckoo on the 18th March in Sutton Coldfield.

This is actually the second very, very early cuckoo heard in Sutton Coldfield this year. Maggie was beaten by Margaret by nearly 2 months.

Avril Froggatt heard a cuckoo today in Kiveton Park, Sheffield.

She said, “We live on a small estate in the edge of countryside, there are woods nearby. I was gardening when I clearly heard the cuckoo call three or four times.”

Tanya Harris heard a cuckoo today in Kippax. Leeds.

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