Koel Notes

To: Birding-Aus aus <>
Subject: Koel Notes
From: Ricki Coughlan <>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2006 10:39:56 +1100
G'day all

A pair of Koels have been visiting my garden frequently over the past few weeks and have provided opportunities for some interesting observations.

They are most attracted to a strawberry patch outside my office window and make raids on it daily. The female bird has some rather interesting foraging behaviour. She works her way along the edge of the patch and pops the end of her wing under the leaves and uses it to lift them to view if there are any ripe strawberries beneath them, much the same way as we would use our hands. She'll work the entire length of the patch in this fashion. I've tried to get a movie of it, as it is a truly amazing thing to witness, but they are far too timid for me to get close enough. I've tried feeding them some strawberries to gain their confidence, but then they become ill-inclined to forage for the berries under the plants. I cannot recall ever seeing or hearing about the use of a wing in this fashion before.

The male bird likes to sunbake. He lies on the ground in the sun and stretches one and sometimes both wings out and has a good old loaf. The female bird seems to show no interest in this sort of behaviour at all.

Beneath their favourite perches there are a number of castings which include many blackberry seeds, some cherry seeds and an abundance of seeds which I do not recognise. I was unaware that Koels expel castings.

Happy birding

Ricki Coughlan
Belrose, Sydney

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