Channel-billed cuckoo

The squawk, squawk, squawk of a baby bird begging for food itches in my ear… squawk, squawk, squawk. But it’s rougher, more irritating, scratchier than squawk, squawk, squawk. I go out onto the veranda because I know this baby bird is in the jacaranda…squawk, squawk, squawk. I search for it. First I see a currawong flying off and then a now fully grown channel-billed cuckoo… squawk, squawk, squawk. This baby bird is bigger than its adoptive parent, yet its behaviours are still those of a baby bird, just like its incessant squawk, squawk, squawk.
Channel-billed cuckoos (Scythrops novaehollandiae) arrive from New Guinea and Indonesia in Spring and leave again in Autumn. Their call is so distinctive that in October I notice when they are suddenly back. What intrigues me is how do the young birds, who have been parented by enslaved, unwitting currawongs, magpies or ravens know they are not of this bird who has hatched and fed them but another species altogether? And how do they find their way back North to the other home thousands of kilometres away?