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Pittas, victims of window crash

on 19th February 2009

An around 0110 hours on 18th January 2009, Godfrey found a dead Blue-winged Pitta (Pitta moluccensis) lying outside his window ledge. He picked it up, put it in a plastic bag and popped it in his freezer.

A few days later, Wang Luan Keng of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity, National University of Singapore, collected the specimen for the museum’s collection.

The area where the pitta came to its end is around Braddell Road. According to Luan Keng, in most probability, it died crashing against the window pane. Pittas were regularly found dead in Singapore, to find their way to the museum. People are attracted to the colourful plumage of these birds and invariably will take a second look. A few, like Godfrey, will make an effort to find out whether anyone is interested in the dead bird.

On 24th December 2008, a photographer known by the moniker “dominator” reported in the Nature Pixel forum of finding a dead pitta.

The situation of birds colliding against glass windows and dying is more common than we think. We are attracted to pitas but less exotic and less colourful species are usually simply ignored.

Image by Godfrey.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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