Grey-rumped Treeswift: Just before fledging

on 8th October 2015

Ling Kwee Chang’s video clip of a Grey-rumped Treeswift (Hemiprocne longipennis) chick testing its wings in the nest prior to fledging was documented at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in early September 2015.

Note an adult is keeping a close watch on the chick on the lower right of the image.

The chick has to keep on flapping its wings to strengthen its muscles before making the first flight.

When the time is right for fledgling, the adult will refrain from feeding the chick. It will usually tempt the cjhick with food from a distance to encourage the latter to fly to it. On many occasions this first flight may end on the ground. This does not mean the chick needs help. The adult will be around to encourage it.

Do-gooders may interpret the crash down as a semi-tragedy – that the chick needs help. But please leave the chick alone. Do not pick it up and bring it home to care for it. The chick will try again and gradually improves its flying skill. The adult will be there to give encouragement.

At the most, place the chick on high ground if there is danger that it will be trampled by passers by or predated by stray cats.

Should you bring it home, hoping to care for it, you will only be fattening it for a potential prey.

Calvin Simonds, in his 2000 book, Private Lives of Garden Birds (Storey Books), in his aside entitled “A bird in the bush is worth two in the hands” has this to say:
“The fledgling period is an important period of training for the young birds, one in which they learn from their parents what they should eat and what dangers they should look out for. Male fledglings even learn something about how to sing. Even with all their natural training, young birds have a terrible time making it through their first year. Do you really, honesty, think your ignorant, hand-raised baby could survive?”

Ling Kwee Chang
October 2015
(Video by Ling Kwee Chang, image by Johnny Wee)

This post is a cooperative effort between Birds, Insects N Creatures Of Asia and BESG to bring the study of birds and their behavior through photography and videography to a wider audience.

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

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