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Annie in Austin
Welcome! As "Annie in Austin" I blog about gardening in Austin, TX with occasional looks back at our former gardens in Illinois. My husband Philo & I also make videos - some use garden images as background for my original songs, some capture Austin events & sometimes we share videos of birds in our garden. Come talk about gardens, movies, music, genealogy and Austin at the Transplantable Rose and listen to my original songs on YouTube. For an overview read Three Gardens, Twenty Years. Unless noted, these words and photos are my copyrighted work.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo

People in Austin are seeing interesting bird visitors this week. I'd hoped for a painted bunting but was quite happy when this Yellow-Billed Cuckoo stopped at our garden today!Annieinaustin, yellow-billed cuckoo

I took the photo through the window - my presence didn't seem to make the bird jump, but a clumsy grackle & a white-winged dove sent it flying. (Photos will enlarge when clicked.)Annieinaustin, yellow-billed cuckoo w eye

There's a slight chance of rain over the next couple of days - we need it so badly, while along the Mississippi people are dealing with floods.Annieinaustin, orange daylilies, larkspur, salvia, rainchain I've hand-watered the daylilies so there are some flowers in bloom on both sides of the back walk. Will the rainchains finally get to do what they're designed to do?


  1. I've always wanted a painted bunting too. That is a cute visitor though! I hope you get some rain. It is predicted here for this weekend and we are due for some. So far, knock wood, we've had a wet spring.

  2. Nice photos! Yellow-billed Cuckoos are one of my favorite summer-resident birds here. I think they are very sleek and elegant, especially in flight. On your second photo you can see one of the differences between cuckoos and other birds. Most birds have feet with 3 toes pointed forwards and 1 toe pointed backwards. Cuckoos have 2 toes forwards and 2 toes backwards.

  3. What a pretty bird visiting your fountain. I do hope you get some rain. We've finally had a few days with no rain, but now it is hot. I hope it stays dry, in my garden, not yours, for just a few more days so I can work on the vegetable garden beds.

  4. Thanks for posting the cuckoo photo -- I've never seen one myself, but it's a great thrill seeing an unusual bird stopping by the yard!

  5. You southerners get all the cook birds!

  6. We had a tiny fraction of an inch earlier this evening, Phillip - at least enough to give us hope. Good luck with getting good enough rain - no floods.

    Thank you Mikael Behrens, - it was so much fun to see this bird! I like the part about the two-toes in each direction. And the website says Cuckoos eat fuzzy caterpillars... if it stays around there will be plenty of pecan webworms.

    Oh May Dreams Carol! With all that rain to soften the ground, and now sun to warm the soil, your week of gardening should be a blast!

    Hi Alan - with the heat & drought, our birdbath fountain has been getting a lot of visitors. I see you live in St Louis - thinking about St Louis always makes me want to see the Shaw Gardens again.

    The cool birds are nowhere as numerous as the plain old city/suburban sparrows, doves, and grackles, ChuckB, but the unusual ones show up often enough to make us keep the camera near this window!

    Thanks for commenting -


  7. What a cute bird! And your lilies are lovely...here's hoping for that rain!

  8. What fun having a yellow-billed cuckoo in your garden, and so close. I hope you get rain. I wish I could send you some of our rain. I haven't been able to work the soil in my garden yet this spring. CRAZY.

  9. Yellow-billed Cuckoos are called "Rain Crows" by some. That's the only name I knew them by when I was growing up in Mississippi. It was said that their call presaged rain. Here's hoping that's true. Unfortunately, I haven't heard one here yet.

  10. We hear yellow-billed cuckoos often in the summer - just heard the first one a few days ago - but I've only rarely seen them. Around here they mostly stay hidden in the trees. A neat garden visitor!

    Hope you get some rain soon. I've been reading about drought this spring in England too, of all places.

  11. What a beautiful visitor. I love the face on the cuckoo- and the comment about the toes is fascinating. I never would have noticed that! It seems like you've been getting a lot of really interesting bird visitors this year. Do you think it's because of the lack of rain and your fountain, maybe?

  12. A yellow-billed cuckoo! I've never heard of it, but how sleek and curious it looks.

    Did you dance in the rain this morning? I nearly did. It was so delightful to see and hear it.

  13. What a cool bird sighting! I hear Austin got rain Thursday ... so did Katy!

  14. Your yellow-billed cuckoo is a beauty. He looks as curious about you as you are of him :)
    I'd happily share some of our rain. We had five lovely, sunny days in a row last week but the rain and clouds are back to stay for some time according to the dreary forecast.
    I feel for the people in those flood areas. It's feast or famine! Oh, for a happy medium!

  15. Guess all the comments didn't return after the Blogger glitch. Here's what Pam/Digging said on May 12th: Pam/Digging has left a new comment on your post "Yellow-Billed Cuckoo":

    "A yellow-billed cuckoo! I've never heard of it, but how sleek and curious it looks.

    Did you dance in the rain this morning? I nearly did. It was so delightful to see and hear it."

  16. Hello Kate - we got 1.3" on Thursday the 12th - very welcome!

    The birdbath fountain puts them only 4-feet away, Lisa at Greenbow so it is fun. The windows need replacing - wonder if that will make the photos clearer?

    Thanks for the Rain Crow name, Birdwoman - guess it is true!

    I'm glad you got some of the rain, Cindy from Katy - didn't do much for the drought, but it was good for general morale!

    I should stop whining about drought when people's lives are floating away, Kerri - but it's also a bad thing. There's no moderation to the weather anywhere this year!

    Pam/Digging - didn't exactly Dance in it... but did go out in that rain! When I saw the bird the shape of the beak hinted at "cuckoo" so I was able to find the identity pretty quickly.

    Thanks for the comments,


  17. I've never seen a yellow-billed cuckoo! This is too great. And wow, you got a great picture. I'm so bad at catching birds in action.

  18. A very elegant looking bird. I'm not familiar with them at all. I hope you finally got some rain. We desperately need it here too. Your daylilies are lovely. I'm posting about daylilies this week too :-)


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