But the society's annual bird census, which is a sampling of the population of wild birds in Singapore, shows that the number of koels has seen a six- to seven-foldincrease since 1991. In fact, Mr Lim reckons that he has received twice as many calls and e-mail fromthe public about the bird this year than in previous years. Most are curious about the racket it makes in the mornings, while others, like Mr Woodward, are up in arms. Mr Lim says a resident living in Woodlands thought of moving because of the birds' cries, while another in Killiney Road was frightened by the loudness. Apart from the 'ko-wel' sound, which the bird is named after, it sometimes makes ahigh-pitched 'cleep-cleep' sound in rapid succession. In the late 1980s, the Asian koel was a rare migrant from north Asia and foundmainly in Singapore's offshore islands. They would appear during the winter migratory season between September and April. But over the years, more of the birds, especially those from Peninsular Malaysia,have set up home here. Mr Lim, an avid birdwatcher who has written books on birds here, offered two possible reasons for their increase. The first is Singapore's large population of house crows. They provide host nestsfor the koels, which are parasitic birds, to lay their eggs. (See other story) Second, Singapore has an abundance of food that koels go for - figs, palm fruit, papayas and berries, among others. Dr Wong Hon Mun, executive director of the Jurong BirdPark, says that at thistime of the year, migrant koels escaping winter - some from as far away as southChina - also make their way to Singapore, adding to the numbers here.