Breeding ecology of the Little Tern 3: Life and death

posted in: Nesting | 0

Things are not always smooth sailing for the chicks of the Little Tern (Sterna albifrons) once they hatch. There is no guarantee that they would develop normally to eventually fledge. In fact not all chicks survive the 20 odd days to fledging.

When Jonathan Cheah was documenting the breeding ecology of the Little Terns (1,, 2), he noticed a larger chick limping through the viewfinder of his camera. As he moved closer he noticed one leg bleeding as the chick hobbled over a sand mound. He went over and found it lying motionless, a usual reaction when a chick is approached. Lifting the chick off the ground, he noticed a foreign object lodged on the chick’s webbed foot. After removing the object he gently placed the chick on the sand and it scuttled off happily (below).

And he also experienced death of chicks. As Jonathan recounts, “The first two days of hatching are very crucial to the survival of the chicks. Failed nests can occur by bad choice of nesting grounds, too many eggs, even stress of parent by predators. Once the chicks can move, the survival rate increases.“

Around the nesting grounds he observed chicks dying (above) but the parent birds do not normally accept the fact that the chicks were dead. In one instance the parent covered the chick’s beak with a rock to prevent ants from entering the carcass. It even continued to sit on the remaining egg and dead chick, whilst being harassed by the sudden increase in flies and ants (below).

Unfortunately the remaining egg did not hatch, most probably due to a super heated ground. Obviously a poor choice of nesting location.

Input and images by Dr Jonathan Cheah Weng Kwong.

Territorial Nightjars

posted in: Migration-Migrants | 2

“The Grey Nightjar (Caprimulgus indicus) is an uncommon but annual migrant to Singapore. It breeds from northern Thailand all the way up to Siberia. Like the Oriental Scops Owl (Otus sunia) it is a nocturnal bird that is usually silent away from it’s breeding grounds. In recent years, a few birds have been observed throughout the “winter” period (October – March) around the MacRitchie and Sime Forest areas of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, proving that the species winters here. One to two birds have wintered around the Treetop Walkway area for the past two years or so and have been seen and photographed, during the day, roosting on branches of adjacent trees.

“In all my years of local bird observation, I have only heard this nightjar calling twice… at Sentosa. Calling may be an indication that the bird is holding a winter territory.

“On November 16th, 2006, while conducting an evening bird survey at the Treetop Walkway (above), I was pleased to hear a Grey Nightjar calling loudly at dusk. The call was a quickly repeated “tuc” note in a series of several in a row. The call was coming from a large Terentang tree (Campnosperma auriculatum) where this species has been regularly seen roosting before. Along with Benjamin Lee and Janet Hong, who were with me at the time, we quickly moved closer. What followed was both unexpected and exciting.

“The calling Grey Nightjar was being harassed by a resident Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus) (above). The latter may not have been pleased about this visitor calling loudly within what it considered it’s territory. Instead of retreating and going silent, as expected, the Grey chased off it’s larger cousin before returning to the tree to call loudly from a branch. This scene was replayed twice or thrice more, before the Grey chased the Large-tailed away. We could see the chase below us before they both disappeared into the darkness. Subsequently, the Grey was heard calling loudly again from a different tree.

“What can we make of this scene and the behaviour witnessed? Well, many migrants do not call because they are not at their breeding grounds defending their territory or seeking a mate. However, there are many others who call constantly while here. Why the difference? In many cases, this may be the difference between passage migrants and wintering visitors.

“A passage migrant simply passes through Singapore, on its way to further south… probably Indonesia. They may stop to feed for a few days or if the weather is unfavourable (as well as when there is a thick haze in the way) but they do not stake out a feeding territory for their short stint here, hence no need to call. Some, like the Yellow-rumped Flycatcher (Ficedula zanthopygia), may stopover for a bit longer and sets up a temporary territory by calling from selected perches. Others, like the Blue-winged Pitta (Pitta moluccensis) (above) only call once or twice, at dawn or dusk… contact call to any of their kind that may be about? Who knows?

“A winter visitor actually spends the cold northern winter here in tropical Singapore, often staying a few months before returning to their breeding grounds in spring. As they are here for quite a while, they set up a territory in which they feed and sometimes drive away others of their kind, like the Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) (above) does. Throughout the “winter” months (this period varies from species to species), we are treated to the calls of Arctic Warblers (Phylloscopus borealis), Asian Brown Flycatchers (Muscicapa dauurica), Brown Shrikes (Lanius cristatus) (below), Siberian Blue Robins (Luscinia cyane) and many, many more northern visitors.

“So, the calling and aggression displayed by the Grey Nightjar on Thursday may simply be further proof that this species is now a winter visitor in Singapore.”

Submitted by Subaraj Rajathurai, 18th November 2006

Images by YC (Treetop Walkway), Chan Yoke Meng (Blue-winged Pitta, Brown Shrike), KC Tsang (Common Kingfisher) and Tang Hung Bun (Large-tailed Nightjar).

Moulting 1

posted in: Feathers-maintenance | 0

On and off I have been picking up various types of feathers in my garden and along my driveway (above: Javan Myna contour feather, top left; down, top right; tail, middle; Black-naped Oriole tail feather, bottom). During the time when I was interested in plants (and not in birds), I considered these as discarded feathers, detached as a result of fights between birds. Now that I am a “sometime-birdwatcher”, I am slightly more enlightened.

I now know that these feathers have been discarded naturally as a result of moulting. Now why do birds discard their feathers?

Feathers are important to birds. They insulate them from the cold and enable them to fly. But feathers undergo wear and tear. They become brittle, frayed and sometimes get damaged by ectoparasites. Worn and damaged feathers cannot function well and this can prove fatal if the bird cannot fly properly.

As feathers are dead structures, they need to be replaced regularly. And this process is known as moulting. In moulting, the growth of the new feather pushes out the old from its follicle.

Moulting may be partial or complete. Partial moult occurs when only certain feathers or groups of feathers are replaced. Complete moult occurs when all the feathers are replaced. Thus when birds develop their winter plumage or change from juvenile to adult plumage, moulting was at work.

The image below is a moulted breast or more likely belly feathers of a Buffy Fish Owl (Ketupa ketupu), picked up below the owl’s roost by Melinda Chan.

Our field ornithologist Wang Luan Keng has this to say: “Birds do have a season to moult, usually after their breeding season. In Singapore, most birds breed from Feb/March till July/Aug, maybe Sep. Many species here overlap moult and breeding slightly so they will start moulting in July/Aug and end by Oct/Nov when the NE monsoon starts. Many species, especially passerines, have straight forward sequential moult; others like cuckoos, hawks, herons, fruit doves etc have very complicated multiple moult series and yet some species like rails, grebes and probably bitterns moult all feathers at once and go flightless during that period. And mind you, we are only talking mainly about primary feather moult. We know even less about other flight feather moult and almost nothing about body feather moult.”

Input and images by YC; expert information by Wang Luan Keng and owl’s feather provided by Melinda Chan.

Breeding ecology of the Little Tern 2: The first few days

posted in: Nesting | 0

Most of the newly hatched chicks can be grouped into two main groups. They can be hatched helpless, with eyes closed, naked or sparsely covered with down, in which case they are altricial. On the other hand they can be hatched with their eyes open, covered with down and can soon walk or swim, then they are precocial.

The chicks of the Little Tern (Sterna albifrons) are neither altricial nor precocial – they are semi-precocial. Although the chicks can move about within a few hours after hatching and are covered with down the next day, they are hatched with their eyes closed and partially covered with down (above). The advantage here is that the chicks do not need total parental care in a habitat that is exposed and dangers lurks at every corner.

By the second day the chicks are fully covered with down (above). They lie motionlessly and await the calls of their parents. When the parents are nearby and no threat seems to be around, they pop out with gaping mouths, sometimes chirping (below). At any instance of danger, they remain motionless again.

Otherwise they prop up and open their beak when they hear the calls of their approaching parents (above). The parents feed them non-stop, having no time to preen themselves after splashing in sea water to refresh. The chicks find comfort having the parent close by (below).

The days of the adult involves warming the chicks, protecting the chicks from the environment and feeding the chicks. Feeding usually take the form of broken down fish parts since the chick cannot swallow. Feeding is rotational and also cycles between the chicks.

Input and images by Dr Jonathan Cheah Weng Kwong.

Food for the Yellow-vented Bulbuls’ nestlings

“Over a period of two weekends, this pair of Yellow-vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus goiavier) were observed to be feeding their young (from the noise made, probably two of them). Regular visits, at the peak times, were about 10-15 minute intervals. The parents’ foraging grounds were all around the garden and a big piece of wasteland behind my house. It’s quite amazing that they were able to find that much food so easily.

“I’ve attached a series of pictures of the parents, and also the Chiku tree (Manilkara zapota) where the nest was hidden (above). I don’t have any pictures of the nestlings as I didn’t want to disturb the nest. The Chiku tree was pruned at that point in time, and had just begun to sprout new growth – just enough to keep the nest out of sight from prying eyes.

“Both parent birds returned to the same perch, the sawn off branch, and held whatever prey that they had secured whilst perched there (above). They scanned the surroundings for a few seconds, as if making sure that there were no predators in the vicinity, before plunging into the nest to feed their young. As they did so, the chirps of the nestlings could be heard loudly, as presumably, they competed for the food.

“The range of food items fed to the nestlings was quite impressive, varying from fruits, to spiders, caterpillars and even a cicada (top, above and below)!”

“All shots taken with a Nikon D2X and the 80-400mm VR lens mounted on a tripod, and shot from my 2nd storey balcony. This explains the almost eye-level shots.“

111-1.jpg

Note: Most of the food fed to the chicks consisted of various invertebrates, mainly insects except what looks like a fig (Ficus sp.) (above). Growing chicks need lots of proteins and thus the animal food.

Input and images Khew Sin Khoon.

Sun and dust bathing

posted in: Feathers-maintenance | 5

Keeping the feathers clean and in top condition is crucial to birds, if they are to function well and enable them to fly. Nearly all birds take a daily bath, if they have the opportunity. This is to rid the feathers of dust.

Bathing involves fluffing the feathers and vigorously beating the water. At the same time the head is dipped into the water regularly. The bird then shakes off the excess water and flies off to dry. The feathers need to be preened. Each feather, particularly the wing feathers need to be passed through the beak so that they are cleaned and the separate filaments put back in place.

If water is not available, some birds like the Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus), will take sand or dust bath (all three images above). They roll about the loose sand or dust and shake vigorously about. The sand or dust particles are believed to absorb excess preen oil as well as remove dry skin and ectoparasites. These include lice, mites, fleas, ticks and what have you that damage the feathers or even suck the blood of the birds. Evidence of dust bathing is the presence of bowl-shaped hollows on the dry ground.

Sunbathing is another method indulged by birds. This is what the Peaceful Dove (Geopelia striata) is doing in the above image. They lie down with their wings outstretched. The sun is thought to straighten the feathers and at the same time spread the preen oil throughout the feathers.

Fuhai Heng & YC Wee
Singapore
December 2006
(Image by Fuhai Heng and YC Wee.)

Breeding ecology of Little Tern 1: Egg laying and hatching

posted in: Nesting | 3

The Little Tern (Sterna albifrons) is a small, slender and streamlined bird with a pair of narrow, sharp-pointed wings and forked tail (above). These adapt it well to a swift and graceful flight as well as plunge-diving for fish from a height above the water. The white belly helps to reduce its conspicuousness to underwater prey when the bird is flying over the water foraging.

As with most terns, there is courtship feeding when the male brings fish to feed the female. The pair may also indulge in aerial displays.

Once the pair has bonded and copulation occurs, the eggs are laid on a bare depression in the sand. A full clutch is three but usually only two eggs are laid (below).

Both parents help in incubation and brooding. Whenever a parent bird arrives at the nest it will inspect the eggs and position them carefully before settling down to incubate them (below). Incubation usually lasts from 21 to 30 days.

When hatched, the chick has its eyes closed (below left). The skin is clearly pink as the down feathers have yet to burst out of their sheaths. Within a few hours the chick dries up and begins to move about and by the next day it is totally covered with down feathers (below right). They are thus semi-precocial.

The eggs are cryptic as they are thickly spotted with dark brown and pale lavender. However, with hatching the whitish inner surfaces of these egg shells can easily compromise the camouflage and attract the attention of predators. Thus they are removed as soon as possible and dumped some distance away (below).

Input and images by Dr Jonathan Cheah Weng Kwong.

Where do birds go when it rains? And what do they do then?

posted in: Miscellaneous | 2

It has been raining on and off these few weeks and the birds have not been around. Have you ever wondered what happened to them when it rained? And what do you think they did at these times? Well, there is at least one perceptive birder around and he has the answer…

James Heng sent in this account of his encounter with Pink-necked Green Pigeons (Treron vernans) at the Bukit Batok Nature Park one rainy afternoon in December 2006 (above: male pigeon left, female right).

“The year end has always been amongst the wettest period of the year. While the rain may be an inconvenience for some birders, it is also a good opportunity to observe the birds’ behavior during the rain.

“On the afternoon of 18th December 2006, it rained while I was bird watching at Bukit Batok Nature Park (above). That was when I came across a small flock of Pink-necked Green Pigeons. There were two males and three females in that flock. I sought shelter by a hut that happened to be just 10-15m from the trees that they were perched.

“When it started to drizzle lightly, two of them snuggled together shoulder-to-shoulder on a Cassia tree (as shown above, but on the frond of a ceram palm). There was obviously insufficient cover so when the drizzle turned to a downpour, all of them flew over to a tall, large-leafed tree, the cabbage tree (Fagraea crenulate) (below).

“They tended to choose perches that were at the top third of the tree. Upon closer observation, each bird was seen to perch on a branch that was immediately below at least two large overlapping leaves (below, showing branches with leaves but no birds). By having such leaves above them, they would remain dry. Perhaps due to the scarcity of choice spots, all the birds were perched separately.

“At about 3pm, during the first five minutes of the downpour, all of these birds shook their body and fluffed out their feathers. It might be to aid the drying of the wet feathers or perhaps to trap their body’s heat. After that, they became relaxed and sat down on their respective branches. In the next five to seven minutes they began to yawn and their eyelids became very heavy. They fought very hard to keep their eyes open. Before 15 minutes was up, all five of them were soundly asleep. So birds do take siestas! All this occurred as it rained relentlessly.

“You have got to see it to appreciate such adorable proportions.

“When the PNG pigeon sleeps, its long neck is relaxed and it appears to be drawn into the bird’s body. The neck appears almost non-existent as only half of its head appears to be above its body. In fact, the bottom of the bird’s eyes is just at shoulder level. Just imagine the silhouette of a large fat plum. The male PNG pigeon has grey, pinkish-purple and orange on its head and breast. When it is all “balled up” in that sleeping state, the colors make it look like a clown!

“When the rain ended some 45 minutes later, the Yellow-vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus goiavier) and drongos were happily sunning themselves in the open again. Only one member of this flock of pigeons woke up to sun itself. The remainder of the four birds continued with their siesta.

“So after a thunderstorm, do search the horizontal branches of some of the tall broad-leafed trees. You might just be lucky enough to see those adorable “furry balls” in deep snooze.”

Input by James Heng, images by YC.

Black Bittern the hunter

As mentioned in the previous post, the Black Bittern (Ixobrychus flavicollis) is a rather uncommon winter visitor to Singapore. It foraged around an artificial lake in Jurong in November 2006, appearing extremely tame and allowing groups of birders and photographers to view and to record.

The bird exhibited its skill in fishing with a sudden extension of its retracted long neck. The next moment it had a sea-bass fingerling (Lates calcarifer) firmly impaled in its upper mandible (above). In the image below the bird had caught a tilapia fry (Oreochromis mossambicus).

Once the bird successfully caught a fish, it quickly retreated under cover of the vegetation to enjoy its meal. In the case of a biggish fish, it adjusted it so that the head was swallowed first. This is to ensure that the spines of the fins would not damage the throat. Within a minute or two the fish was completely swallowed (below).

As with herons, the fish enters the gizzard where the flesh is stripped and passed on through the stomach while the bones and scales are compressed and finally ejected as a pellet.

Input and images by Meng and Melinda Chan, fish identification by Dr Khoo Hong Woo.

Black Bittern

The Black Bittern (Ixobrychus flavicollis) is a rather uncommon winter visitor to Singapore. Thus when it appeared in Jurong around early November 2006, birders as well as photographers were all there to witness and to record its presence.

The bird is reported to rarely appear by day except during rainy periods or when the sky is overcast. The images shown here were taken after a shower when the sky was overcast. But on other days the bird was always around – morning, noon and evening, and I assume, even at night. The area was well shaded by trees and thus even at the height of noon it was dimly lit.

The bittern was seen foraging around the lake fringe (above), staying on the banks or flying low from one location to another. It stayed motionless for long periods at the water’s edge or in the shallow water, waiting for a fish to swim close by. Then it suddenly extended its long neck and either grabbed or speared the prey with its bill (below).

The image below shows the bird with a catfish fry held firmly in its bill.

The bird also moved into the shallow water, its body parallel to the water surface, its neck fully extended and its bill pointing straight ahead. Movement was extremely slow, one foot after the other. It always remained around the shallow water and with the sun always in front, so that it does not cast any shadow and alert the fish in the water.

The frustratingly slow pace of the bird tested the patience of birders and photographers alike, who were gathered to witness some action. But when the action came, it came fast and rapid…

Input and images by Meng and Melinda Chan.

26 Responses

  1. kris

    I just found a young dollarbird in the garden.. It seems to have left the nest too early and cannot fly yet. How am i to keep and feed it for a few days untill it can fly.???

  2. Iwan

    We have a small pond in our garden surrounded by trees and steep bedrock. The other day we saw a heron flying over and attempting to land – I guess to try to eat our small stock of fish. We managed to frighten it away before it landed, and have since installed trip wires around the pond in order to dissuade the bird. The amount of shelter around the pond means that a heron would have to land practically vertically. Does anyone know whether these birds have the agility to hover and land in this way, or do they always need a “glidepath” in order to land successfully?

  3. Khng Eu Meng

    Today, at the former Bidadari Cemetery, there was a buzz about a sighting of a Grey Nightjar (Caprimulgus jotaka). I heard some birders say this nightjar isn’t commonly seen in Singapore. After some hunting, we spotted it asleep on a tree branch, some 15 m above ground. This was rather interesting as my previous encounters with nightjars have been on either terra firma or on low branches.

    Is this perching so high up the tree normal or is it unusual? I have posted a photo of it on my Facebook Timeline: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151125012234135&set=a.108191464134.96538.617499134&type=1&theater

  4. Jess

    Bird Sanctuary At Former Bidadari Cementry

    1)Which is the best spot in Bidadari cemetery for bird watch?

    2)Where this bird usually resident at?

    3)What are some of the rare bird species that can be found at Bidadari?

    4)Where is the particular hot spot for the hornbills, eagles, kingfishers and some of the rare migratory bird?

    5)Which part of Bidadari are richest in it wildlife?

    6)Can you name me the 59 migratory bird species found?

  5. YC

    Why not search the website using the word ‘Bidadari’ to obtain the information you need. There should be sufficient info in past postings to satisfy you.

  6. Firdaus Razak

    Hai, I just want to ask did anybody had an experience bring bird from oversea via MasKargo? Did the bird will stress at high altitude?

  7. Chung Wah

    Hi, I am new to bird photography! Could anyone advise a good pair of binoculars to get for this hobby?

  8. Geam Liang

    I ‘acquired’ a female Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot 5 days ago – was in a public place when the bird flew overhead hit the wall and dropped right in front of me dazed. I picked it up, it appeared unhurt but could not sustain it’s flight. I have since constructed a fairly large ‘cage’ for it, about 4ft x 2fx x 2ft and placed it there last night. I temporarily placed her in a normal bird cage until I had completed the build.
    From what I have read up, it’s a fruit, seed and insect feeder and also nectar, flower buds. It’s doing as well as it can on bananas, papaya, jack-fruit (didn’t touch the grape) and seeds (black and white sunflower and other smaller ones). It loves to bathe so I’ve gotten it a tray and from what I read it’s important to keep things clean as it easily succumbs to infection.
    Does anyone else have any useful experience and sharing on it’s upkeep? I suspect this bird is an escapee – as far as I can read up, it’s not common, if at all, found in Georgetown, Penang where I am. I’m also not optimistic that it can survive if I were to set it free – assuming it can sustain it’s flight and not go crashing down and if there were dogs/cats around that would be the end of it.
    I can attach some pictures but not sure how to do this…
    thanks.

  9. Lee Chiu San

    The blue-crowned hanging parrot, even though very closely related to the lovebirds, is a nectar feeder. You would raise it the way you raise a lorikeet – which is a messy process. And because you are mixing batches of food for just one little bird, whereas I used to do it for about half a dozen pigeon-sized lorikeets each morning, I don’t know how you are going to get the portions down to manageable sizes. Anyway, here goes, with my recipe for feeding big lories. You can adjust the proportions down accordingly for your little bird.

    The staple diet would be a couple of slices of soft fruit (papaya, apple, grapes, even though I am surprised that you said the bird would not eat any) and a mixture of cooked rice sweetened with nectar mix.

    How to make nectar mix? Go to a pharmacy and get a can of food for invalids or infants. I use Complan, but I am sure any good baby formula would do. I usually make up enough to fill a beer mug, but there is no way you need that amount for a day’s feeding. If in doubt, make the mixture thinner, not thicker. Birds cannot digest baby formula that is too thick. If it is too thin, they simply have to consume more to get the required amount of energy. Then to this mug, add half a teaspoonful of rose syrup. Also stir in about a cup of cooked rice, well mashed up.

    In the case of your bird, I suggest that you pour this lot into an ice-cube tray, freeze the mixture, and defrost one cube to feed it each day.

    Now, you said that this bird eats sunflower seeds. This is most unusual for a blue-crowned hanging parrot. Are you sure that this is actually the species you have? Could it be possible that you have actually got a pet lovebird that escaped? There are so many different artificially-created breeds of lovebirds in so many colours that you might have been mistaken.

    If you actually have a lovebird, feeding is much simpler. Just go to the nearest pet shop, buy a packet of budgerigar or cockatiel seed of a reputable international brand, and offer it to the bird. You can supplement this with a couple of slices of fruit each day, and that will be all. Plus of course fresh water and a piece of cuttlefish bone to nibble on.

  10. Lee Chiu San

    About nectar feeding birds. I forgot to add that feeding nectar is messy, and it goes rancid very quickly in our tropical weather. Feeding containers have to be removed and thoroughly cleaned at the end of each day. The birds also splatter the mixture and wipe their beaks on perches and the bars of the cage. All my lories and lorikeets used to be housed in outdoor aviaries which were hosed down daily.

    If Geam Liang does not think the bird will survive if released, I really hope that it is a case of mistaken identity, and that you have a lovebird, rather than a blue-crowned hanging parrot. In our part of the world, all available lovebirds are domestically bred, take to captivity readily, and are easy to feed with commercially available seed mixtures. Yes, and being domestic pets, they would not survive if released.

  11. Geam Liang

    Thank you Chiu San for your inputs. Thus far, bananas and papayas work well. I’m not sure why it did not take to grapes – will try again. Am I supposed to peel it? I didn’t the last time, basically skewered a couple of grapes to a satay stick and positioned it as I did for the sliced and skinned papaya and peeled bananas.
    I have yet to try rice and certainly not nectar but will try out your concoction – have half a mind to go to a pet shop to see if they carry nectar for birds. The ice-cube freeze method is a good one, will try that. I might be mistaken on the sunflower seeds… not touched but it did eat the much smaller roundish, mixed colored seeds. Will remove the sunflower seeds.
    I’m sure it’s a female blue crowned hanging parrot.. it sleeps like a bat every night.

  12. Lee Chiu San

    When feeding local birds which are unfamiliar with imported fruits such as grapes, it helps to split the fruits to expose the edible parts. As to your remark that the bird sleeps hanging upside down like a bat, yes, that is the way blue-crowned hanging parrots sleep.

  13. Geam Liang

    Thanks… I need to think like a bird – yup. She has probably not seen a grape much less know that it’s edible, unless the previous owner has fed her with grapes… even then… Today she’s done pretty well making the most of the banana and all of the papaya plus quite a bit of seeds. Will try the baby food + mashed rise + rose syrup.
    Will regular honey do instead of rose syrup?
    Thanks.

  14. Lee Chiu San

    About making nectar to feed birds. Most aviculturalists do not use honey for two reasons: 1. It is expensive and does not seem to give any added benefits. 2. Honey is made by bees, and the composition varies wildly. Some honeys are also known to cause fungal infection in birds.

    If you do not want to buy a huge bottle of rose syrup just for one tiny bird, there are cheaper alternatives. The first is plain table sugar, though most don’t seem to like it very much.

    What many birds will accept quite readily as a sweetener is condensed milk – the type with sugar that coffee shop owners use.

    Many, many birds have a sweet tooth (or should I say sweet beak?) Besides the usual suspects of lories, lorikeets, sunbirds and hummingbirds, for whom it is an essential part of the diet, nectar mixture is readily consumed by mynahs, leafbirds, fairy bluebirds, barbets, doves, parrots of all kinds, and a whole host of other species.

  15. Geam Liang

    I tried the condensed mild, placed in in a small bottle cap.. only the ants showed interest. Am I supposed to dilute it? I didn’t =( I took you advice and refrained from honey. Have yet to find Rose Syrup from the shelves of TESCO… will try to mix the baby food + mashed rise + rose syrup/sugar syrup this week…

  16. David Thackray

    Can anyone help me identify a bird I saw in Singapore last week. Size of a smakll dove or thrush. Dark metallic back. Grey breast with red throat, chest.

  17. Emily Koh

    Lately I bought a bird feeder which I fill with 4parts water n 1 part white sugar. Sunbirds come regularly to drink and they are really lovely to watch. May I know if it is bad for them to feed on this? Previously they would sometimes pierce and drink from my potted flowers

  18. Emily Koh

    Lately I bought a bird feeder which I fill with 4parts water n 1 part white sugar. Sunbirds come regularly to drink and they are really lovely to watch. May I know if it is bad for them to feed on this? Previously they would sometimes pierce and drink from my potted flowers.

  19. Mahadevi Bhuti

    One of best souce for the bird watcher’s enjoying knowledge about ornithology

  20. Martin Nyffeler (PhD)

    Dear Sir / Dear Madame,

    I am a Senior Lecturer in Zoology at a University in Switzerland and I urgently need to get in touch with photographer Chan Yoke Meng, who takes beautiful photographs of birds near Singapore. Would you please mail me the email address of this photographer!

    Thanks,
    Martin

  21. Wee Ming

    Hello Besgroup,

    Trust this email finds you well. We chance upon your photograph on your website and found the amazing image of the Laced Woodpecker and durians. We would like to explore the possibility of getting permission to use them for a new Bird Park in Singapore.

    Spacelogic is a company based in Singapore and we have been contracted by Mandai Park Development to carry out design and build works relating to the exhibition interpretive displays in this new Bird Park.

    Some background of the new Mandai Bird Park project; it will build upon the legacy of the Jurong Bird Park – https://www.wrs.com.sg/en/jurong-bird-park.html by retaining and building upon a world-reference bird collection and creating a place of colour and joy for all visitors. The new Bird Park will have a world-reference ornithological collection displayed in a highly immersive way with large walk-through habitats. To enhance visitors’ experience with storyline and narrative of the bird park, transition spaces are added to display exhibits that provide a varied type of fun, intuitive, interactive and educational experiences for all visitors. One of the habitats features the Laced Woodpecker on a flora panel It is in this flora panel that we are seeking your permission to feature the Laced Woodpecker. We are looking to use the first image on the link here.
    Link can be found here: https://besgroup.org/2012/06/28/laced-woodpecker-and-durians/

    We would like to ask if this is something that we can explore further and if yes, how can we go about with putting through a formal permission request. Thank you so much for considering our request and we look forward to hearing from you.

    Warmest Regards,
    Wee Ming
    SPACElogic Pte Ltd

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