Friday, February 13, 2009

Red-vented Bulbul

I've ventured far from New Hampshire with today's post. My sister-in-law, Shanti, sent me this photo of a red-vented bulbul nest in a shrub outside her flat in Pondicherry in southern India. She had been watching a bulbul poke around the yard for several weeks and eventually she was able to find the well-camouflaged nest. I looked back at my bird list for my first trip to India in December 1987 -- the red-vented bulbul was the 13th bird that I saw after arriving in Delhi. A few years later in 1991 on a visit to Madras, India, the red-vented bulbul was third on my bird-sighting list.

Most of the published accounts of the red-vented bulbul mention a clutch of 2-3 eggs; interestingly this nest has four. The red-vented is one of several bulbul species that are easily seen in India, although it is the most common. Bulbuls are perky, their calls and whistles are clear. The red-vented bulbul has expanded its range (a popular pet bird, it has likely been transported and released outside its native range), even occuring in the southern U.S., and is considered an invasive species in some places.

Thinking about the bulbul sitting on its eggs, basking in a warm breeze blowing in from the Bay of Bengal, I can almost feel spring just around the corner.

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