Myna Having a Free Cool Drink

on 16th February 2013

“..we are not alone in looking for a cool drink on a hot day. I was on my motorbike that day, stationary at a traffic light when I observed a myna dashed under a taxi that just stopped as it left the pickup up point of a shopping mall.

“I was wondering what kind of live animal or insect might have gone under the car and the bird seemingly intend on chasing a meal to the extent of ignoring traffic.

“In approximately 10 seconds, my question was answered. Drops of water fell from the bottom of the taxi and the bird was lapping up the water the moment it hit the ground.

“Its behaviour showed that, this is not the first time it has been doing this and it pays more attention to cabs, knowing that they are more likely to have water condensing on their air-conditioning pipes due to wear and tear on their insulation layers.

“So far I have only observed this behaviour in mynas. The only other smart birds around are the crows but they don’t seem so desperate for a free cold drink.

“Unfortunately I was not able to take out my phone and take a shot of the bird in action.”

Jeremy Lee
3rd February 2013

Read more about ubiquitous Javan Mynas HERE, HERE and HERE.

Image of mynas at the Singapore Botanical Gardens by YC Wee.

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.

Other posts by YC Wee

6 Responses

  1. The dripping water comes from condensate collected by a tray at the bottom of the ‘fan coil unit’ or blower inside the cabin of vehicles installed with air-conditioner. The condensate is discharged by a drain pipe which leads to the bottom of the vehicle. While water also condenses on the air-conditioning pipes in the engine compartment, the high temperature within the compartment leaves very little condensate to drop and be seen, unless the vehicle remain stationary in the same spot for a long time.

    The next time you stop behind a bus, look out for water ‘flowing down’ at the back of the bus, usually at the right hand side. Although I have not seen it myself, expect to see mynas doing it at bus stops too.

  2. Yes, I have observed a small flock of mynas sipping aircon water condensate left by buses at a bus bay, at intervals between buses arriving. The mynas fly up the pavement for a while when a bus is at the bay, then return to drink when the bus leaves.

  3. Just to add, mynas and sparrows also get to enjoy free cold drinks available from the condensate water dripping from the outdoor condensing (air-conditioning) units. Plenty of air-conditioning condensing units in tropical Singapore.

  4. Does anyone know if birds drink the water they bathe in? Or do they find a different water source? I have seen mynas bathing in small pools of water left in roads after the rain – do they also drink the same water before/after?

    Also, I frequently see mynas bathing in the still fountain in my condo (as it is still). On one occasion I thought I saw some mynas drinking from the fountain as well. Isn’t the fountain water toxic/bad for them? After all it contains loads of chemicals. The water is also treated to prevent mosquito larvae from breeding.

    How do birds know what water is drinkable? In the case of the fountain water for instance, are they smart enough to tell it’s not drinkable? Does anyone know what indicators birds use to ascertain whether a water source is safe?

    1. I am sure birds will drink from water that they bathe in, even if it contains chemicals that prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Should the chemical be toxic, the birds may die. Just like people drinking polluted water when there is no source of pure water.

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