"The Cuckow her self builds no nest; but having found the nest of some little bird, she either devours or destroys the eggs she there finds, and, in the room thereof lays one of her own, and so forsakes it.
"The silly bird returning, sits on this egg, hatches it, and with a great deal of care and toil broods, feeds and cherishes the young cuckow for her own, until it be grown up and able to fly and shift for itself.
"Which thing seems so strange, monstrous and absurd, that for my part I cannot sufficiently wonder there should be such an example in nature; nor could I have ever been induced to believe such a thing had been done by natures instinct, had I not with mine own eyes seen it.
"For nature in other things is wont constantly to observe one and the same law and order agreeable to the highest reason and prudence: Which in this case, is that the dams make nests for themselves, if it need be, sit upon their own eggs, and bring up their young after they are hatched."*
*The Ornithology of Francis Willughby by John Ray (1678), quoted from The Wisdom of Birds, Tim Birkhead (2008) p36.