“ 6,000 ‘Koel calls' can be heard regularly, depending upon the number of birds found''

Are you finding the short, sweet song of Koels replacing the annoying tone of your morning alarm lately?

The population of Asian Koels in the city is on the rise this time around, according to ornithologists and naturalists. Observations by the ornithologists have revealed that one of the main reasons for the increase in Koel population is the increase in the number of crows in the city.

Koels are brood-parasitic, that is, they lay their eggs in the nests of other birds. The only hosts they find within the city are nests of crows. Moreover, the breeding season of Koels coincides exactly with that of crows, between April and August, they say.

V. Guruswamy, a naturalist who is pursuing research on Asian Koels in the city for the past seven years, observes that the bird's breeding season is divided into two.

The first being the pre-breeding season between February and April, and the second being the trans-breeding season between May and August. Members of the Madras Naturalists' Society also confirmed that singing birds' population was currently on the rise in the city.

He observes that as many as 6,000 ‘Koel calls' can be heard regularly, depending upon the number of birds found in a wooded residential locality. The month of July is the peak season for Koels breeding and the number of calls will come down by September, when the crow's breeding also comes to an end, he says.

Raja Annamalaipuram, Simpsons Estate in Sembium, Radhakrishnan Salai in Mylapore and Perambur Railway Colony are some of the areas that Mr Guruswamy has observed. He has recorded the population of Koels in these localities.

Talking about the recording of ‘Koel calls', Mr Guruswamy says that they sing as early as 4.45 a.m. and their last call is recorded around 6.15 in the evening. With more and more crows occupying various trees in the city, the Koels stand a better chance to breed well and thrive in the city, add the naturalists.