yellow-billed cuckoo

Over the roar of a tractor, a cuckoo’s soft call. I find a recording on my iPad to verify the species: yellow-billed. He responds at length.

Trembling in the top of an oak where a squirrel gathers green acorns. Blurry shadows from a sun shining through cloud. A cuckoo’s soft call.

A question mark butterfly on the railing next to my boots. A cuckoo’s soft call sounds like an answer to the incessant caws of a crow.

Heard but not seen: a hummingbird skirmish. The mist thickens to drizzle, and right on cue a yellow-billed cuckoo—so-called rain crow—calls.

Another quiet morning as the songbirds go through their annual molt. Cicada. Yellow-billed cuckoo. Last night’s rain glistens on the grass.

Even in flight, the cuckoos skulk: two pairs of thin wings as fast and silent as a burglar’s gloves. A small red beetle circles the yard.