Posts tagged with “First sightings”

Does the Pied Cuckoo herald the monsoon?

Thursday, 4 April, 2013

Pied Cuckoo-4yrs

Does the arrival of the Pied Cuckoo herald the onset of the monsoon? The Pied Cuckoo Campaign was launched in 2009 to collect information to assess this age-old belief.

More than 600 sightings of this wonderful migrant have been contributed by over 200 MigrantWatchers so far; the first sighting dates among these were compared to monsoon arrival, as available with the Indian Meteorological Department (see the graph alongside). Each dot shows the earliest Pied Cuckoo report (after 1 May) for a broad location (an area roughly 200 Km across).

The results are fairly clear: Pied Cuckoos arrive before the monsoon in most parts of central and northern India (they are resident in southern India). You can see this from the pattern that most dots in the picture to the right are below the dotted horizontal line.

But the degree to which the arrival of the Pied Cuckoo precedes the monsoon varies from place to place, as can be seen from the scatter of the dots within each year. And even for the same general location, this varies from year to year (see how the coloured dots are in different places in different years).

What appears to be happening is that, where the monsoon arrives early, Pied Cuckoos arrive a few days before monsoon onset; but where the monsoon arrives late, the cuckoos arrive well in advance of monsoon onset.

So, overall, the old belief is true, and Pied Cuckoos tend to arrive before the monsoon — but to different degrees, depending on when the monsoon begins at each place.

Also see this article on Pied Cuckoo migration.

The Pied Cuckoo in 2010 – Mousumi Dutta

Monday, 25 October, 2010

First arrival of the Pied Cuckoo in 2010 in relation to the onset of the Southwest Monsoon

by Mousumi Dutta

Mousumi Dutta is a frequent contributor to the MigrantWatch database. She is an avid birder, and spends her spare time on bird and wildlife conservation. She works with the Indian Meteorological Department, and so has a particular interest in bird migration. Mousumi’s MigrantWatch sightings page is here.

India’s climate is dominated by monsoons. Most of its annual rainfall (86%) occurs during the Southwest monsoon months. The monsoon is a key influence on agricultural output as well as the overall economic growth of India. From ancient times it has been believed that the onset of the monsoon is associated with the appearance of the Pied Cuckoo Clamator jacobinus.

The Southwest monsoon normally sets in over Southeast Bay of Bengal on 20 May and then over Kerala on 1 June. An analysis of the first sighting dates of the Pied Cuckoo and the onset of the Southwest monsoon for the year 2010 (see figure below) shows a fairly systematic pattern. In general, the first sighting of this species in a State is 20-25 days in advance of the onset of the monsoon in that State. This appears to be earlier, relative to the monsoon, than reported for last year.

These patterns indicate an interesting relation between the onset of the monsoon and the arrival of Pied Cuckoos. Long term studies are needed to clarify the details of the relationship between the monsoon winds and Pied Cuckoo migration.

Methods
First sighting dates (after January 2010) for Pied Cuckoos for each State were taken from the MigrantWatch database. (Maharashtra and the four southern States were excluded.) Dates of the onset of the monsoon for each State are taken from the Indian Meteorological Department’s monsoon pages (click on “Northern Limits of Monsoon”). The data used to generate the figure are given below. The links under “Reported by” point to the sighting page on MigrantWatch.

State First Sighting Onset of Monsoon Reported by
Orissa 16 May 13 June Aditya Panda
West Bengal 17 May 14 June Supriyo Ghatak
Gujarat 30 May 16 June Nandita Amin
Madhya Pradesh 10 June 4 July Anand Kumar Bhatt
Uttarakhand 27 May 5 July Sharad Khanna
Chandigarh 6 June 5 July Vikram Jit Singh
Delhi, including NOIDA 31 May 5 July KB Singh, email to MigrantWatch
Haryana 22 June 5 July Vikram Jit Singh
Himachal Pradesh 29 June 5 July Devinder Singh Dhadwal
Rajasthan 24 May 6 July Saandip Nandagudi

 


If you would like to make your own visualisation and analysis of Pied Cuckoo sightings, you can download all 300+ records here. Please share your findings with everyone at MigrantWatch – send us (mw@migrantwatch.in) a small blog post and we will put it up.

It’s drizzling cuckoos!

Monday, 25 May, 2009

By MigrantWatch Admin

The first of the migrant Pied Cuckoos have arrived. Following the first sighting reported on 17 May by Kshounish Sankar Ray from Kolkata we now have reports of other sightings from across the country.

Alibag, Maharashtra

18 May, Alibag, Maharashtra; 18.6N, 72.8E
Reported by Dr. Vaibhav Deshmukh to birdsofbombayCj pica - rain bird.tif
Dr. Vaibhav Deshmukh, Pravin Kawale and Shriniwas made an unexpected discovery when they went to check on the status of a Shaheen Falcon’s nest at a communication tower at Alibag. While the chicks were being fed Rock Pigeons one of the parents got itself a Pied Cuckoo to feast on! According to Dr. Vaibhav “This was our first sighting of Pied crested cuckoo of this season; unfortunately it became meal for Shaheen”. Anecdotes suggest that Pied Cuckoos arrive exhausted from their flight over the Arabian Sea, and often fall prey to crows and other predators – perhaps the bird at Alibag was similarly handicapped. (You can read more about this on bngbirds.)

Note from MigrantWatch Admin: In 1931, Salim Ali recorded the first Pied Cuckoo of the year for Alibag on 24 May (Ali, S. 1931. JBNHS 34:4).

BR Hills, KarnatakaBRT Pied Cuckoo_Samira
21 May, BRT Wildlife Sanctuary, Chamarajanagar District, Karnataka, 11.98N, 77.13E
Reported by Samira Agnihotri to MigrantWatch
Samira heard the call of the Pied Cuckoo for the first time this season as she walked in the scrubby parts of south BRT. A glance in the direction of the call revealed a pair of these cuckoos flying around from tree to tree and calling repeatedly. The Soliga tribal who was assisting her told her that they call the birds “Malé Godda’ and that it had a reputation of hanging around in the rain a lot.

Sultanpur, Haryana
24 May, Sultanpur National Park, Gurgaon, Haryana, 28.32N, 77.03E
Reported by Cdr. Kanwar B. Singh to MigrantWatchsumit-port11
Kanwar Singh reported the first sighting of the Pied Cuckoo from Sultanpur in Haryana. A trip report by Soma Ateesh Tripathi on delhibird also mentions the sighting.

Nashik, Maharashtra
25 May; Dindori Road, Nashik, Maharashtra, 20.01N, 73.79E.
Reported by Shriram Vaijapurkar to MigrantWatch
Mr. Shriram Vaijapurkar spotted the Pied Cuckoo in the morning at 9:15 AM as it sat on the overhead cable and called. The cuckoo is a annual visitor to the area and this was the first sighting he has had of this bird this year.