Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Visitation

Over the parapet beyond the swimming pool this morning burst a magnificent male Common Koel, the huge, muscular Coo-Coo, the “Nok Gao Wow,” my favorite bird. He went straight up, wings, tail, every feather fully extended; then he went away from the building and swung around to his right, made a little circle, and flew off to the left with purposeful thrusts. I’m sure he was flying to a large area of open ground to the south of my condo, to feed.

He was like a huge, muscular pigeon with a larger head and a parrot-like beak. His large, fully spread tail feathers were light grey underneath and darker above, the bird himself was dark, mottled grey. His head was almost black, including the beak.

I love these birds. They are so polite: roosters start their racket just before dawn and raise holy hell for two hours; the Koels only start whistling much later and rather more musically. It is fascinating to think that they, like all coo-coos, lay their eggs in the nest of other birds. It is a little horrible to think of them using their powerful beaks and, what, talons? claws? to set upon and pull apart small mammals and lizards in preparation of eating them semi-alive. “Giant pigeons camouflaged for night-fighting,” I called them once.

It was a nice show.


Anonymous said...

It's quite common nowadays, in America, for Coo-Coo birds to lay their eggs (and their shit too)in the nests of others. Metaphorically speaking that is.


fred c said...

The better to help themselves to our prosperity, no doubt.