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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

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Helen Macdonald
Freelance
Helen Macdonald is a writer, poet, illustrator, historian and affiliate at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge. Her memoir H is for Hawk (2014) won the Samuel Johnson Prize.

Written by Helen Macdonald

Essay/
Biology
Nest of spies

The cuckoo is both an icon of Englishness and a symbol of suspicion and deceit — a perfect pet for an MI5 officer, then

Helen Macdonald