Backyard Nature

posted in: Nature Conservation | 0

In October 2017, nature consultant Subaraj Rajathurai visited me and seeing my garden, commented that I should add up the number of posts in this website that originated from it. We are both convinced that nature can be found everywhere in Singapore, even in your backyard and compiling this list would convince skeptics.

MynaJ-"panting"CRW_0098BulbulRW-pre roost

Postings in this website started as far back as 2005 on any birds that were found in and around my garden LINK. Subsequently this was widened to include all aspect of nature. After all, studying birds and ignoring the habitat and its other fauna reflects a lopsided outlook.

The list below, covering postings from July 2005 to December 2016, starts with bird-plant interactions, followed by species of birds. It ends with non-bird fauna like insects, lizards, snakes, bats and civet cats. The figures between brackets give the number of posts for each section and subsection.

A total of 307 posts were made during this 138 months period. About two thirds were on birds and one third on non-bird aspects of nature. For each heading, only a sampling is presented and clicking the links will take you to the posts.

Typhonium-LS spathe base-flowers-gnatsStarlingAG-seeds below roost [wyc] - 1Musa domestica cv Pisand Saribu

1. Birds (207)
1.1 Plants and Birds (79)
1.1.1 Mistletoes (6 posts e.g. Hanging-parrot pollinating flowers)
1.1.2 Singapore Rhododendron (5 posts e.g. Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker
eating fruits
1.1.3 Palms (24 posts e.g. Pied Imperial Pigeon swallowing Alexandra Palm fruits)
1.1.4 Banana Plants (9 posts e.g. Pollination of ornamental banana)
1.1.5 Miscellaneous plants (35 posts e.g. Leucistic Javan Myna feeding on flowers and Porcelain Grape)

1.2 Bird Species (127)
1.2.1 Bulbuls (25 e.g. Adult feeding 5 day old chick and Red-whiskered Bulbuls roosting)
1.2.2 Doves (44 posts Courtship behavior, Intelligent feeding and Chicks have fledged)
1.2.3 Mynas (8 posts e.g. Mynas and grass cutting)
1.2.4 Pigeons (10 posts e.g. Sharing of duties and Death of a juvenile pigeon)
1.2.5 Starlings (7 posts e.g. Flocking)
1.2.6 Sunbirds (9 posts e.g. Leaf bathing and Harvesting nectar)
1.2.7 Miscellaneous (24 posts e.g. Family of Common Tailorbirds and Koel ejects crow’s eggs)

Amber's insectBSNettleGrub-pupal casseCRW_1539

2. Non-birds (100)
2.1 Insects (55 posts e.g. Death’s Head Hawk Moth and Crane Flies)

2.2 Snakes-lizards (2 posts e.g. Clouded Monitor)

2.3. Mammals (43 posts e.g. , Bag of red chillies to deter bats from roosting) and Common Palm Civet)

I am an armchair birdwatcher turned nature watcher. I watch whatever birds that visit my garden. I am only interested in knowing what this handful of birds are doing rather than just recording the different species that arrive. After all, I do not get a twitch in my neck whenever a rare bird is sighted. Knowing what a handful of species are doing is better than knowing just their names and nothing else.

My Garden
My Garden

The behavior of many bird species, especially the commoner ones, have yet to be studied. In fact, these common species have been generally ignored. Take the example of the House Crow. Some years ago I documented an Asian Koel laying an egg in the nest of a pair of crows that incubated it, fed the helpless chick until it was ready to leave the nest. And once the chick was old enough to leave the nest, the crows taught it how to forage for food, recognise and avoid predators, etc. until the juvenile was ready to lead an independent life. Imagine a plant watcher (I was one then) being the first to document such behavior in Singapore (Wee, Y.C., 2005. Look, what came out of the crow’s nests. Nature Watch 13(1): 22-25). And this was documented right in my garden.

Since 2005 when the House Crow-Asian Koel encounter piqued my interest on birds, my garden has provided me with opportunities to pen numerous aspects of bird behavior as shown in the list above.

This goes to show that nature is everywhere in Singapore. All a nature enthusiast needs to do is look around. You may be residing in a high-rise apartment building but you still have a small patch of garden (invariably larger than mine) to seek out nature. By all means visit the many parks and the few Nature Reserves we have if you are adventurous. At the end of the day it depends on whether you want to just accumulate sightings or photographers or learn something new…

YC Wee
9th December 2017

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