I REMARK that all the cuckoos here intone in a minor key, except one, who alone does not flatten the 3rd of the tonic. The key is in all cases precisely D of concert pitch, as proved by a tuning-fork, and the first note is F on the fifth line. In quality of voice the Major is not equal to the others, while he affects a certain jerkiness of style that in no small degree deteriorates his performance. It also wants the plaintive effect of the minor key. I confess I am not very learned in these matters, and a major cuckoo may not be so rare a bird on the earth after all; but I do not recollect ever having noticed one before. All the other cuckoos that I have remarked were minors, and, whatever may be the reason of the distinction, I cannot, at least, regard it as connected with difference of sex.
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BIRMINGHAM, J. Notes of the Cuckoo. Nature 22, 76 (1880). https://doi.org/10.1038/022076c0
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