The cuckoo was named ‘Skinner’, after my dad, and fixed with a tracker by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). We logged on as a family to see where he was, keeping check on him as he crossed continents. Skinner favoured a route from Norfolk in the east of England, over to southern Spain and then on to Angola.

We anxiously tracked him for a couple of years until his untimely demise. You surely can’t get too attached to a blob on a map, yet we felt something akin to grief, even though we’d been expecting it. Many cuckoos don’t live for very long, a fact highlighted by the BTO’s high turnover ...


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