Mar 26, 2012    Views: 4300

"Domesticating" Pycnonotus goiavier




“Domesticating” Pycnonotus goiavier

By Prof. Isidro T. Savillo

       Tropical gardens, yards or any less disturbed nook of a shrub (mostly “thorny” plants and even crotons) in some corners of  concretely- fenced residences  can be a probable nesting site for Pycnonotus goaivier1 or yellow vented bulbuls. They have this tendency to re- nest in shrubs (e.g. citrus plant) where they successfully hatched their eggs and were able to coach diligently their young to fly out of the nest . After a year or so, they  may choose to nest in a different shrub (e.g. croton- Codiaeum variegatum ) but in similar vicinity just a few meters away from the former nesting site. They prefer nesting sites that are less visited or disturbed by people and may prefer less people in such residences.  It seems that their behavior in choosing these nesting sites or re choosing the same site as well as finding a new nesting site within the vicinity has something to do with their familiarity with the human occupants. Their low lying nests are within human reach and if they are left alone, it seems that the nesting vicinity becomes a long term choice. They are shrewd in choosing the nesting site mostly hidden completely from view and difficult to discover because of their noiseless strategy. Pycnonotus goiavier  fly usually from below in going to their nests which make it difficult to spot. In their silent maneuvers for long in nest making and egg incubation, there comes a time that this would cease when the pair would have to feed their feathered young. Chirps from  nestlings as well as the protective and call for- feeding sounds generated  from  both  parents will reveal their actions leading to their nest location.  It is in this fragile situation that these birds need not be disturbed. Parents are continuously feeding their young by flying back and forth and there will come a time that these fledglings  have to fly out of the nest. The parents would guide these birdlings in their first awkward flights  and would do so without human presence nearby. To repeat, this is a very sensitive stage and  humans, dogs and cats and other factors detrimental especially if the birdling falls to the ground for  failing to hit a branch should at least be absent. Sometimes a fledgling out of two or three brood  is still weak  to fly a moderate span and may expose itself dangerously on the ground. After a week, the fledgling was spotted in the citrus plant within the vicinity,  transformed to a miniature look of the parent but still calls for feeding where the parents still ferried food for their progeny. Considering that these birds are known to be nomadic 2, the young birds may soon be difficult to track down by mere observation.

     Familiar lively chirps of Pycnonotus goiavier mostly daily  would inform us that they are within the vicinity especially if  there are  fruit  bearing trees  in  the yard and/or robust flowering /vegetable gardens providing them  with insects to eat or they have nests or looking for nesting sites in the vicinity. They put out some types of sounds which are nice to hear  and sometimes they are also the morning keepers- sounding off during  dawn. [This made me remember very well the early morning birds that calls out loudly when the dawn breaks at the Gast Haus , Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum, FU- Berlin,  Germany where I stayed .] This is how far P. goiavier can be  “domesticated”  but this is much “nearer”  in terms of domesticating other similar birds in the wild .

1. Pycnonotus goiavier in flight- Philippines at
2. Pycnonotus goiavier (Singapore) at


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"Domesticating" Pycnonotus goiavier

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