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.