“Just and addition to my annual observation of Yellow-vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus goiavier) nesting in my condo area.
“This year has been a miserable year. I see less than half the number of nesting in the same area. This I had earlier attributed to the development of the empty plots of land into highrise condos. The open fields and tall grasses probably could support more birds in terms of food supply.
“I anticipate that the numbers will come back but not to previous levels once the condominiums mature. These birds are happy to nest near human developments.
“Another observation to add this year…
“With the decrease in food supply, most nests only had one fledgling. The only fledgling I saw probably also got predated by crows or koels as I have not heard it since it left the nest. Normally, you can hear the baby bird’s calls in the vicinity as they are not great fliers when they first leave the nest. Its calls ceased on the second day it left the nest.
“My observation is that the pressure from predators like crows and koels is making the bolder bulbuls more successful in raising chicks in my area. There is a large clump of bamboo hedge in a place used as a show flat. It is very overgrown and there are many bulbuls there too. But I have have seen marauding koels that take their time and take eggs or chicks from the nests and even sow some wild oats of their own.
“The Red-whiskered Bulbuls (Pycnonotus jocosus) in my area have also failed in their nesting. I saw them try to drive away a koel but to no avail.
“Birds that seek high nests fall prey to crows who often patrol the area as well.
“So the best bet is to nest low and very near human dwellings to keep the predators at bay.
“Hopefully next year is a better year for the bulbuls.”
31st May 2013
NOTE: Top-left image of Yellow-vented Bulbul by Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS and bottom-left of Red-whiskered Bulbul by YC Wee.