Hi subscribers, here's Illawarra Mercury environment reporter Ben Langford with an update on the bird mystery ...
Koel. It's an Eastern (formerly "common") koel.
Not a shrill-throated idiotbird, as it had been dubbed (by me) earlier this week, but a koel.
Thanks to a small army of bird-knowing Illawarra Mercury subscribers who answered our call to identify the creature which had been driving me batty.
And many of you as well, it seems.
It's pronounced like an English aristocrat might say "coal".
The name is supposedly something to do with its annoying, repetitive call, which starts around 5am near my place, and can continue all day.
I disagree. The word "Koel" naturally falls in pitch as it reaches its conclusion, while this noisy blighter rises, then rises again. More like "Kooy".
I had been hoping for some redeeming qualities which might soften my opinion of the neighbourhood's new too-early alarm clock.
There is none. It's a kind of cuckoo which flies in from Papua New Guinea in spring, sings its silly song until it finds a mate, then the eggs are laid in another bird's nest. The other bird then brings up the young believing they're its own.
Not only is the koel a pain, it's also a parasite.
I can report some good news, however: some poor lady koel appears to have fallen for this bird's annoying song, because it has ceased to sing. I can only assume they're off together planning for their children to live happily ever after in someone else's nest.
Good thing the male didn't listen to my advice and find a new song.
I shouldn't be too shocked that this terrible tune eventually did its trick. Just look at how many fans follow Justin Bieber.
Thanks again, bird watchers.
Pictured above: A wattlebird feeds a (larger) young koel.