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Angie’s nesting crows 2: Attack by the koels

on 4th January 2006

Last evening was the sixth day since the nest was built by a pair of House Crows (Corvus splendens) (see 1). A crow was seen hopping in and out of the nest every 5 minutes. Its mate was preening itself a few branches away. Just as the former settled itself in the nest, there was a commotion.

The time was about 7.30 pm, quite dark then. I could make out a large greyish bird perched on a lower branch, slowly and deliberately flapping its outstretched wings. Then I saw another bird a few branches away doing exactly the same. Suddenly both birds appeared above the nest and there was a flurry of wings and what looked like an attack on the nest. This was followed by loud cawing, giving the impression that a crow was hurt. I could not see clearly if there were 3 or 4 birds in that mad scramble around the nest. Just as suddenly, the attacking birds flew off leaving the nesting crow still mournfully cawing away.

There was another shorter attack 15 minutes later. Then 20 minutes later I noticed another bird flapping its wings on the lower branches, but no more raids.

I presume those grey birds must be female Asian Koels (Eudynamys scolopacea), for just before 7 pm a female was chased away by a watchful crow. Also at that time there were koels calling in the nearest of the distant trees.

Tonight it happened again at 7.25 pm!

A crow had just settled onto the nest; its mate had sat in during its 5 minutes break before flying away. A minute later two koels called, and when they were a few branches away the nesting crow flew out and chased them off. The crow cawed for its mate but it was nowhere in sight. Five minutes later a koel was again seen around the nest. Again the crow flew out to chase it away. A female koel suddenly landed on the nest, flapping its wings before it too was chased away.

Did it drop an egg?

The third attempt at the nest saw the koel crying out as it was attacked by the crow. The crow cawed again for its mate after the attack.

Tonight’s episode was not as dramatic as last night’s. All was dark and quiet by 7.45 pm.

Contributed by Angie Ng, 26th December 2005; image also by Angie, taken on the same day at 11.50 am.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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