Singaporeans were treated to a rare occasion yesterday morning at Changi Village when they witnessed the maiden flight of an Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) chick.
The head of the chick suddenly peeped out of the nesting hole in a tree trunk, encouraged by the adults nearby (above). As is usually the case, the adults stopped feeding the chick to lure the latter out.
Peeping curiously around its new surroundings, the chick carefully squeezed itself through the narrow opening (above) before lunging out with wings outstretched (below).
The chick then plunged into its maiden flight (below).
Unfortunately the fledgling was too weak to complete the flight and landed on the ground outside a prata shop. A man seated nearby immediately caught hold of the helpless bird by the neck. As STOMPer Nikita Hengbok wrote, “Just because this selfish and inconsiderate person wanted a picture of the bird and another with the bird, he refused to release it even though many birders and photographers tried to persuade him to let it go” LINK
The adults were frantic, hopping from branch to branch calling out all the time. The bird was eventually freed but was left trumatised. Photographers and birdwatchers formed a ring round it until about half an hour later when if attempted a feeble flight. It was directed towards a wooded area where the adults eventually found it (above).
This fledgling was the last of three to fledge from the nest.