January 7th 2006 was 15 days since I first saw the three eggs in the nest. When I went out to buy groceries at around noon, I went up to my usual place to take a look at the crows’ nest. The first chick had hatched! I was excited and was wondering when the next two eggs would hatch.
I returned home at 2 pm. Quickly I took out my camera and went straight to the next block. From afar, I saw the two House Crows (Corvus splendens) hopping among the branches of their nesting tree. This looked strange. As I got closer, I was shocked to see that the whole nest had disappeared. Could it be an attack by the Asian Koels (Eudynamys scolopacea)? From the 4th level of the block, I could not see any traces or remnants of the nest. The pair of crows was calling desperately from the top of a nearby lamp-post. I decided to go down to the ground level to inspect the area beneath the tree. Yes, there was the chick, dead, of course, and a cracked egg. I didn’t see any trace of the third egg.
I started to reason. It couldn’t be the work of the koels. They couldn’t possibly remove the whole nest. It must be people. As I looked up to the nest site, a small girl and her maid were looking out of their window on the second level, talking to each other and pointing to where the nest was. They told me it was two workers and their boss who removed the nest with a long stick with a knife attached at its end. The whole nest fell to the ground and the workers took the nest away. The maid and the small girl were also sad about this.
Well, crows are pests. What can I say?
In 1995 when we were staying in Yishun, the Town Council sent a team of workers to our estate to conduct a massive felling of rows of lovely trees, some reaching 20 m in height. The whole operation lasted one week. The Town Council explained that these trees attracted many birds (Barn Swallows, Hirundo rustica) to perch in. I moved house the next year.
Text and images by Hung Bun Tang