Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Cuckoo lifting wire

Sometimes, after years of good use or a day of jostling during shipping, a cuckoo bird's tail can become lodged so that the bird stops calling. If this happens to your cuckoo clock, your bird may not be able to fit back inside its door once it is outside.

Like most care for mechanical clocks, the adjustment is easy to make if you can see what you are doing. This article should provide you with visual guides to help you adjust your clock properly. As always, if you are applying any kind of significant force STOP IMMEDIATELY. None of these simple adjustments should require any kind of real effort, and if you find that you are forcing anything you should call a clock care professional.

Below you can see a picture of the inside of a typical cuckoo clock.

Notice the placement of the bellows and whistles (the long wooden tubes to the left with the white tops) and the long wire sticking out of the top of one of the bellows. Your cuckoo clock may have one bellow and whistle on each side, rather than both on one side (as pictured). Still, there should be a wire sticking out of the top of one of the bellows.

Pictured below, you can see a closeup of the same picture showing how this wire should be underneath the tail of the cuckoo bird.

When the cuckoo door is closed the bird should be fully inside the clock case. Below you can see a picture of how the gray lifting wire (extending from the top of one of the bellows) is below and underneath the bird's tail. The tail may be resting on this wire at the closed position.

If your cuckoo is not performing its regular call, or if it is stuck outside of the clock case or wont go back into the house, your clock may have the following problem. The following picture shows the cuckoo bird's tail in the INCORRECT position.

Notice in this picture how the bird's tail is BELOW its lifting wire.

To solve this problem, you need to gently lift the cuckoo tail and move the lifting wire below the tail.

You might consider gently pushing the wire forward (away from the viewer in these pictures, towards the front of the clock) and a little down, so that the bird's tail does not slip past the wire in the up position. In other words, you can gently lift the lifting wire extending from the bellow to check that the bird's tail does not fall off and again get stuck on top of the lifting wire.


  1. Thank you so much for the clear and helpful pictures. You helped me rescue a $6 Goodwill find and it's now on my wall cuckooing merrily!

  2. Thank you so much for the clear pictures it's taken me ages to find the information I needed.

  3. Lovely clear photos a hard thing to find on the web on this subject.