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:
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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).”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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!”
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.”
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!”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”