LEST there is an avalanche of cuckoo reports following R J A Hunter's letter (February 5), may I suggest that the bird heard was in fact a collared dove.

The tri-syllabic "coo-coo-cooo" call is increasingly heard at this time of year as the doves prepare to build their nests. Duncan Miller and R Russell Smith (Letters, February 6) will know well the call of the woodpigeon , "tak-two-coos taffy", that surely is not ever confused with the two "coo-coo" notes of the real thing.

Cuckoos mainly eat caterpillars and there are few around at this time of year.

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Indeed the British Trust for Ornithology website is following some cuckoos ringed in UK, including Scotland, that were fitted with transmitters and they are all presently still in sub-Saharan Africa. (http://www.bto. org/science/migration/tracking-studies/ cuckoo-tracking).

Bernard Zonfrillo,

Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine,

Graham Kerr Building,

University of Glasgow.

MARTIN Shields's striking photograph of goldfinches in his garden (Picture of the Day, The Herald, February 6) made me wonder how it is that goldfinches always know when I put niger seed in my bird feeder.

They appear as if by magic but I never see them otherwise.

Could it be that they have some kind of sixth sense?

John Jamieson,

7 Monument Road,


MARTIN Shields was lucky to see the variety of birds in his garden and record them for the RSPB bird count. On the designated days of the Birdwatch our garden was bereft of birds due to the appalling weather.

Since then, however, my bird feeder and garden have been full of goldfinches, siskins, finches, blackbirds and robins.

Alison Masterson,

9 Kip Avenue, Inverkip.