Where in the World Is Flappy McFlapperson?

The Beijing Cuckoo Project amazes scientists and inspires kids

The cuckoo isn’t the most beautiful of birds. It doesn’t have a BBC documentary-worthy mating dance, its call never inspired Keats, and aside from its status as a clock mascot it’s generally known for being a brood parasite. But a handful of cuckoos native to northern China have been inspiring children and enthralling scientists the world over.

Over the past year, the Beijing Cuckoo Project has answered a fundamental question about the migratory habits of the common cuckoo, but also, more importantly, introduced a whole new generation to the wonders of conservation.

The project seemed simple enough: use scientists and local volunteers to track Eurasian cuckoos with light weight trackers, and let the public watch. In May 2016, five cuckoos were caught outside Beijing (with a net, birdsong, and a stuffed female cuckoo), tagged, and sent on their way.

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Where in the World Is Flappy McFlapperson? is a story from our issue, “Taobao Town.” To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the App Store.


author Tyler Roney

Tyler Roney is the former managing editor at The World of Chinese.

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