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.
Quarry roar, how I have not missed you! But from the other direction, out of the mist, the yellow-billed cuckoo’s soft call.
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.
The catbird emerges from the lilac, gray as ever, and begins to scold. The cuckoo, by contrast, sounds mechanical—almost ready for a clock.
The penitential sound of a yellow-billed cuckoo. I glimpse a dragonfly out of the corner of an eye—an electric blue needle.
First cicada of the day, easing in and trailing off as if mimicking the Doppler effect. A cuckoo’s faint call—never as far as it sounds.