Where Do Koels Lay Their Eggs?

Where do birds lay eggs? A nest! A nest!
This is a story of a bird who had no nest to rest.
Koel is her name and Common Tailorbird is her friend;
They are out to find a nest so keep reading till the end.
Koel knew not how to make a nest on her own;
she needed help from her tailor friend who from near had flown.

“You are the finest tailor, oh sew me a nest of mine”,
Koel sang to her and Tailorbird said “fine”.
The tailor found a champa tree and rolled up her sleeves;
she stitched up a cup-like nest with spider webs and leaves.

Koel hopped into the cup cradled in the tree;
very cosy, very small, she wished she were a bee.
With not much room for her to sing her beak stayed tightly shut;
sorry felt the Tailorbird and cheered her with a nut.

“Why not make a hole, and live there like a mole?”,
Koel sang out loud perched up on the pole.
Tailorbird called her friend Coppersmith Barbet;
he was the best carpenter that she had ever met.
High up on the banyan tree the barbet pecked and drilled;
he carved out a perfect hole and Koel was thrilled.
Alas! Koel could not sit in it for long;

It was too dark, too dim for her to sing her song.

“Can we make a swing, and live there while I sing?”,
Koel asked her friend to make that kind of thing.
“I’m afraid I cannot stitch a swinging nest my dear”,
said the sad Tailorbird but Koel had no fear.
Not too far there lived her friend called Baya Weaver;
with leaves and twigs and straws he wove a swing for her.
Splendidly it swung from the coconut tree so tall,
but Koel felt so dizzy she thought that she would fall.

Now Koel was tired and oh-so upset was she;
Tailorbird had more plans but Koel said “let it be”.
With all the eggs inside her, Koel was getting fatter;
the day was getting gloomy with rain falling pitter patter.
And as she quietly watched rain falling from the sky,
she noticed a nest with one egg on the tree up high.

Can her eggs be guests in other birds’ nests?
The tailor did not think that idea was the best.
But Koel smiled and laughed as she flew off to the tree;
she laid two eggs in someone else’s nest and took off feeling free.

“Caw-Caw,” came a big fat crow and sat on the eggs all day,
Koel sang her song of joy – her babies had a place to stay!
She whispered to her eggs from far, “children, be a good guest”;
and this is how Koel found a nest for her eggs to rest.

Aditi Pradhan is a birder and film production consultant based in Goa.

Illustrations by Pariplab Chakraborty. To view more such illustrations, click here.