Saturday, February 11, 2023


Across the sub-continent, this bird is feted in song and poetry. Thus, there was an ambience of mystery around it. Its loud call (of the male) is so strong and clear that it attracted the attention of the ancients; Aristotle has written about it, as have writers from Vedic times in India. Both of them knew about a specific behaviour of the Asian Koel - brood parasitism - which sits ill with the poetic celebration of these birds. 

This picture was taken in Chennai, for the bird is common pretty much all over the country. For all the hoary knowledge of the bird, and its frequent appearances in song and poems, often as a songbird, as a harbinger of spring, there is only one state of India that has chosen to have this as its state bird.

That is Puducherry; it is somehow entirely apt that this post is being written in Puducherry, where I am today!


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