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.
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.