Blue-throated Bee-eater: 7. Excavating the nest chamber

posted in: Bee-eaters, Nesting, Nesting-failed, Rescue | 1

Check out the earlier parts of the Blue-throated Bee-eaters (Merops viridis) saga: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Part 7 is contributed jointly by Dr JWK Cheah and Micky Lim a.k.a. limmick. The former provided the images and a videp clip of the rescue digging while the latter provides that detailed account.

Once the nesting cavity was located under the bulldozer (left), the digging went into full swing (below).

Were the photographers changing the course of nature? This was in the minds of some of the participants. Others declared that they were changing the course of human destruction to nature. The controversy will obviously go on for some time – should the group of photographers intervened to save the chicks?

Whatever it was, the series is a great story with a huge dose of human interest.

Micky Lim rounded up the situation thus: “…there were a total of three chicks dug out from nest 1. The nesting hole was very long and deep and we could not dig till the end to the nesting chamber… the three chicks actually walked up to the exposed part of the tunnel where they were then retrieved… All three chicks were quite big/old already and just about to fledge. In fact, one did manage to fly off by itself when we were carrying them to the building… so we were left with two chicks (below). The workers were really very excited too and in fact contributed the yellow pail in which to house the two remaining chicks… and these chicks were then brought home by Jonathan (aka wkcheah76) who became their foster daddy for the next few days!

“The lingering thought was that less than one more week was probably all that was needed for the chicks to be reared in their natural environment and to be able to fledge successfully… Nest 1 was the “oldest” nest as the feeding activities started there first with the 2 remaining nests starting feeding quite a bit later – so we all crossed our fingers and hoped for more ‘peaceful’ days ahead for the 2 remaining nests..”

Images by Dr JWK Cheah.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

Follow 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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