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Garden fountain and birds

on 17th May 2018

When the evening is hot the many Asian Glossy Starlings (Aplonis panayensis) that are common in the neighbourhood gather along the glass partition in my neighbour’s balcony garden. The attraction is the miniature garden fountain. These birds get relief from the heat by frolicking under the cool spray of the fountain. They fluff their feathers and soak up the water before flying off to the nearby Blake’s Bauhinia tree (Bauhinia purpurea x variegate ‘Blakeana’), also known as Hong Kong Orchard Tree. There they get rid of the droplets by shaking their body and fluffing their feathers. Then comes the preening and swiping of their bill against the branch.

video grab
video grab

The adults starlings are easily recognised by their glossy blackish-green plumage and prominent red eyes. The juveniles are always around the adults, looking very different in their grey-brown back and buffish-white front that has dark longitudinal streaks. One common feature though is the prominent red eyes.

Sometimes these starlings are joined by the common and noisy Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus). These mynas are distinguished from the starlings by their yellow beak and non-red eyes.

It is a joy to see these birds enjoying the fountain water but obviously not the owner of the house. These birds invariably pollutes the place with their droppings. So of late there is a large wire contraption covering the fountain. This prevents the birds from getting under the fountain spray but they still come. They move below to enjoy what little droplets of water that fall outside the netting. But they are unable to soak up the water droplets as before.

YC Wee
Singapore
10th March 2018

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.

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