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Leading article: One flew over

Leave aside the disgraceful French slur that prompted people to use the name as a synonym for madness. Ignore the digital timekeeping revolution that is threatening to do away with the famous clock. And let us draw a veil over the unfortunate practice of laying eggs in nests of other birds. The news that the cuckoo has been added to the red alert list of threatened bird species should distress us all.

Every year the sound of the cuckoo brings hope to our breasts, signalling that our avian friends from Africa are returning and that the cold months of winter are coming to an end. Add to that the two note call that is easily imitated by even the most tone deaf and you have a bird that will always have a special place among the affections of the inhabitants of these isles.

The cuckoo must not be allowed to go the way of the Dodo. If nothing else, how would the editors of newspaper letters pages manage?