I reckon that we have had more koels than wattlebirds in our garden the last few weeks. Both the call types that Joh described have been heard, and often there are
ko-elle calls too, especially at night, from both close and far away.
Two wattlebird nests in the garden appear to have been deserted recently, at least one of which had had a sitting bird. Interestingly, while I was sitting on the verandah sometime after dusk a few
nights ago, a koel flew rapidly into the brittle gum that contains one of these nests, making a
wirra-wirra call as it flew, appeared to land directly on the nest, then flew off silently after a couple of seconds; it was too dark for me to determine if it was a male or female. I think the nest had already been deserted by this point.
The wattlebirds near Mt Stromlo this morning were mostly moving around in small groups, a behaviour that I associate with late summer. Perhaps the drought has changed the timing this season?
From: John Layton <>
Sent: Sunday, 22 December 2019 3:47 PM
To: Canberra birds <>
Subject: [canberrabirds] Eastern Koels in Holt
At 13:45 today I heard loud
wurrow-wurrow calls interspersed with brassy keek-keek-keeking and went out onto the front porch while the birds called about once every 30 seconds. Nonetheless, it took me about two minutes to locate a female perched in the depths of our large
White Cedar not 10 metres from where I stood. Both calls continued until suddenly, a male I’d not noticed burst from the tree and flew away. I watched the female as she continued calling for about another three minutes at which point I needed to go indoors
and never heard or located her afterwards.
This is only the third sighting I’ve had of koels in our garden in over 30 years.
At 06:00 today, while travelling slowly along Southern Cross Drive in the Holt/Higgins area, I had frequent glimpses of Red Wattlebirds moving among eucalypts on the median
strip and got a feeling they may be breeding there. Maybe there’s a connection with those glimpses and the koel calling in our place which is fairly close by.