Sitting up in the orchard yesterday, enjoying the warm sunshine with a glass of cider, eagle-eared Karen was the first to hear a Cuckoo calling somewhere close by. This is of course one of the first signs that Spring has truly arrived, but it's also an important sign for the cidermaker.
Traditionally, the first Cuckoo call signals that the new ciders are ready to be tapped. We tapped our Rockingham Forest Cider last weekend, so as a rule of thumb this tradition appears to have some merit. This is particularly true in the case of West-Country style ciders, which can take much longer to mature than those made from Dessert and Culinary fruit.
This photo of a Common Cuckoo has been kindly made available for use by Sergey Yeliseev under a Creative Commons Licence.