Buffy Fish Owl in distress

posted in: Illegal-Irresponsible, Owls, Rescue | 4

Many birders would have been aware of the family of Buffy Fish Owls (Ketupa ketupu) that inhabit the forest of the Lower Peirce Reservoir. Recently the juvenile owl was the focus of much attention as it sits quietly on its perch during most days, at times fishing, feeding, bathing or simply napping.

Then yesterday morning (21st April 2007), there was a near tragedy as the juvenile owl got entangled in a mass ot fishing line left in the water by some irresponsible fishing enthusiast. But let Amy Tsang relates the incldent…

“Today at Lower Pierce around 9 am in the morning, KC and I went to look for Buffy, the Fish Owl at the spot which KC had last photographed it. Having missed it previously despite making 4-5 earlier attempts to do so, I was very determined to see Buffy today. We made our way along the boardwalk to Buffy’s last favoured spot, and passed two young men attempting to cast their fishing lines from the boardwalk. I thought no more of this sight since fishing is allowed in some parts of the reservoirs.

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“When I made my way into the forest edge next to the boardwalk, Buffy’s presence was not immediately apparent to me as the owl’s beautiful light and dark brown plumage enables it to remain quite well camouflaged against the forest background. I circled the ground for a while looking for Buffy, and suddenly realised that she was practically just above me, seated quietly on a branch about 20 feet above the ground. Our eyes locked when I looked at Buffy and she was lovely! Then I noticed a messy entangled fishing line hanging below her, and I realised to my horror that it was actually caught up with one of Buffy’s feet/talons (above, arrow). I immediately called KC to see Buffy as it was in trouble. We both felt that Buffy’s situation was serious as her life could be threatened if the fishing line around her feet got caught up in some bush or tree branches. She will be immobilised, unable to move and hunt/feed herself and unable to flee from any of her predators.

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“KC swung into action, calling Nature Society Singapore’s active birders-cum-leaders who then contacted Ms Sharon Chan of National Parks for help to rescue Buffy from her dangerous plight. Alan Owyang from NSS arrived first. Just before he did so, Buffy was attempting on its own to extricate itself from the messy entangled fishing line from around its feet/talon. KC observed that Buffy flew down from its perch to the ground, and then up again to another lower tree branch (right). Then Buffy used its beak trying to undo the tangled fishing line from its feet, but did not succeed in her attempts to do so. It got a bit tired then, and seemed to nod off to sleep for a while. Soon within the hour, Sharon arrived with several NParks rangers along with their rescue equipment. As we all watched Buffy, and the rescue team wondered how best to handle the rescue, Buffy was roused from its rest and started again to wriggle its body and feet. Perhaps, it sensed that many angels of mercy were around her and she found strength to try again to extricate herself from this fishing line mess. Then to everyone’s delight and relief, Buffy suddenly flew up from her perch and seemed to break free from her entanglement, flying swiftly to another patch of the forest behind her. She was FREE at last! And probably very hungry too as she may not have been able to actively hunt for her breakfast given her predicament.

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“We spoke with Sharon after this incident and she fedback that loose discarded fishing lines are a hazard to both birds and animals. She had previously rescued a monkey which was similarly entangled in discarded fishing lines, and she and her rangers did this at some risk to themselves as the other monkeys were very agitated at the sight of their handling the distressed monkey. She said that clearly public education must actively continue to make members of the public realise that such items like discarded fishing lines can be very life threatening to our wildlife, and they must exercise responsibility to dispose of such items appropriately outside of the forest parks. She also highlighted that there are designated areas for fishing and it is important for the public to stay to those designated areas, so that problems as what we had encountered will not occur and endanger our wildlife.

“When we finally left the Buffy Owl’s spot and returned to the boardwalk, we came across another man who fashioned his own fishing rod from a long palm stem. ‘Another potential killer in the making’ we thought, as the fisherman may also leave behind some fishing line when he is done with his fishing activity. Being wiser now, we informed him that fishing is illegal at the spot where he was and that NPark rangers would book him if they saw him doing so. He took note and quickly left the place.

“We are glad that the beautiful Buffy Owl has the chance to live another day, as she succeeded in breaking free from her entanglement with the fishing line mess. We urge everyone to spread this public education message so that the wildlife in our forest parks will never have to face such dangers, as some may not be as lucky as Buffy is today!”

Input by Amy Tsang, images of entangled Buffy by KC Tsang and Buffy in happier times by Johnny Wee.

Nesting of Red-breasted Parakeet

posted in: Nesting, Parrots | 0

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Red-breasted Parakeet (Psittacula alexandri) (above left), a feral resident, is breeding and making its presence felt. Slowly but surely, it is replacing the resident Long-tailed (Psittacula longicauda) (above middle) and the other feral, Rose-ringed (Psittacula krameri) (above right).

RBParakeet, Changi [YMChan] (1)
The bird was first recorded in 1943 as a feral species, after which there were more sightings. However, there were no reports of breeding until the 1980s.

Parakeets usually pair for life. Courtship occurs mostly around nest entrances or in trees nearby. This may take the form of allopreening. The birds nest in tree cavities and several pairs may nest in the same or nearby trees. They often make use of nesting cavities once used by woodpeckers and barbets, frequently enlarging them before use. Three to four eggs are laid on a layer of wood dust at the bottom of the hollow.

A small colony of Red-breasted has established a permanent nesting site in Changi Village among the old angsana trees (Pterocarpus indicus) along the main road. The image on the left shows a nesting pair, with the male perching outside and the female just emerging from the cavity.

The male is a possible nominate P. a. alexandri but the subspecies of the female is questionable. Why? Her lower mandible is black while the upper is partially black. The female of this subspecies alexandri has coral red bill.

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The images above show a chick in the nesting cavity being fed by a female Red-breasted. The chick peeping out of the nest cavity (above left) has red bill, as is the case with this subspecies. However, the female has coral red upper but blackish lower mandible (above centre and right). This is very unlike the female in the other image.

In a further posting, the subspecies of the Red-breasted will be further discussed.

YC Wee
Singapore
April 2007
(Images by Chan Yoke Meng.)

Owl bathing

posted in: Feathers-maintenance, Owls | 3

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During the last few weeks the resident juvenile Buffy Fish Owl (Ketupa ketupu) at Lower Peirce Reservoir had been regularly taking its bath in the shallows of the reservoir (left). It flew into the water either in the morning or in the evening, usually whenever it was hot and sunny. Did it bathe at night? It might but was there anyone around to witness it bathing in the dark?

According to Johnny Wee who is familiar with this stretch of the forest, he used to regularly see a pair of Buffy Fish Owls around. On and off he would witness one bathing or fishing at around 9.00 am. The pair disappeared for about a year but returned with a juvenile during the second half of February 2007 (below). He used to see the adults feeding the juvenile.

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This juvenile owl has now been seen feeding itself. It was even photographed feeding on a snail.

In an earlier post, a pair of Spotted Wood-owls (Strix seloputo) at Swiss Club Road used to bathe every morning if rain during the night had left puddles in the Turf Club Car Park.

Now why does an owl bathe?

Like most non-aquatic birds, an owl takes a bath once in a while to clean its feathers. It usually stands in shallow water, either at the edge of a lake or stream and flaps its wings to splash water over the body. The bird may sometimes immerse its body in deeper water. Or even take a plunge bath – flying at a low angle and splashing briefly in the water.

And after a bath the owl will vigorously shakes off the water from its body, preens its feathers and sometimes also dries itself in the sun.

Preening will rearrange the barbs and barbules of the feathers. During preening, oil from the preen gland located at the base of the tail will help keep the feathers from becoming brittle. The oil is also believed to have fungicidal and bactericidal properties.

Bathing may also help remove external parasites, mainly lice.

Top image by Allan Teo, bottom image by Johnny Wee.

Foraging behaviour of mynas

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates | 4

I was at the Singapore Botanic Gardens a few days ago and was fascinated to see four Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) (left top) and a single Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) cooperating in a foraging exercise. They were in a single file spaced about 40 cm apart and moving together on the lawn. As they moved forward, one or two birds broke formation to pick up a morsel. But they returned to maintain the single formation.

Initially the Common Myna was on the right end of the formation but as the birds moved forward, it changed places with the other Javan Mynas. In the image on the left it is second from the right.

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Over at my neighbour’s small patch of garden, two grasscutters were operating their noisy lawn mower and portable cutter (right). Over and above this din was the noisy chatter of mynas, sounding as if a fight was under way.

Yes, it was a squabble. A small group of Javan Mynas was fighting over the privilege of foraging around the immediate vicinity of the gardeners. As the grass was being mown and trimmed, insects and other invertebrates were being exposed and these birds were excitedly having a feast.

So bold were the birds that they moved very close to the feet of the gardeners, ignoring the blades and the noise.

I once witnessed a grass cutting session in the field overlooking Tan Tock Seng Hospital. The cutters were driving grass-cutting contraptions as the field was large. And a small flock of mynas was noisily hovering around, following the machine and having a great time finding food.

YC Wee
Singapore
April 2007

Oriental White-eye: Waste disposal

posted in: Waste | 0

The chicks of most passerines enclose their wastes within a flexible bag known as a faecal sac. The parent birds meticulously remove these sacs and dispose them some distance away from the nest. These sacs help keep the nest sanitary and the absence of wastes around the nest will not attract unwelcome attention, especially from potential predators.

In the Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum), the adult birds attempt to remove these sacs as and when they appear from the cloaca of the chicks. But in many instances they are not able to cope with the situation and the chicks simply excrete the sacs out through the opening of the nest.

This is not the case with the Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus). During the first two days after hatching, the adults will enter the nest, pick up the faecal sacs and swallow them. It is believed that at this early stage of the chicks’ development they are not able to totally digest the food fed to them. The adults thus recycle what the chicks excrete to benefit from the nutrients that are still present in the faeces.

However, as the chicks get older and their digestive system becomes more efficient, they are able to extract most of the nutrients in the food. The adult birds thus simply remove the sacs and dump them some distance away from the nest.

From observations, it was noted that the white-eye chicks excrete only when an adult was around and that they would do this in an orderly way. The moment a chick stuck its posterior up, the adult would immediately move near and grabbed the faecal sac directly from the cloaca (above). The adult would then fly off and dispose of it some distance away. In the example shown on the right, the adult picked up the sac but somehow dropped it.

Is it a wonder then that the nest of the Oriental White-eye is always clean?

Images by Chan Yoke Meng.

Chestnut-winged Cuckoo came for a visit

posted in: Migration-Migrants | 2

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Chestnut-winged Cuckoo (Clamator coromandus) breeds in the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka, S China, Indochina to SW Thailand. It winters south in parts of Asia and Southeast Asia. So we get to see the bird as an uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant from as early as 30th September to as late as 28th April.

On 11th April 2007, Richard Hale had a visitor trying to enter the living room of his apartment at Dairy Farm Road (above). The cuckoo must have seen its reflection on the window pane and tried to engage it, pecking the glass as is common with other birds (1, 2).

As Richard relates his encounter: “Thought you might like to know that this morning about 9 am, my maid told me there was a strange bird on the living room window sill looking into the room. I went outside to see it and it took no notice. A nice Chestnut-winged Cuckoo which waited for me to go and get the video camera, then my still camera and lastly the tripod.

“It was only after twenty minutes that it decided to fly away strongly. During the whole time it appeared to be taking an interest in what was going on, turning its head etc. and did not appear stunned. How it arrived on the window sill I know not but it was a nice surprise. I haven’t seen one for many years.”

Richard Hale
Singapore
April 2007

Yellow-vented Bulbul nesting in an artificial plant

posted in: Nesting | 4

Lena Chow’s garden and garage have been favourite nesting areas for Yellow-vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus goiavier) since 2004. After each successful nesting, the birds returned the following year without fail. They seem to favour potted plants, especially bomboos and money plants (Epipremnum pinnatum Aureum).

And unlike most birds that normally do not reuse old nests but build a new nest each season, Lena’s bulbuls appear to be environmentally friendly – they practise recycling. She reported that at most times they returned and reused the old nest after some repairs.

Lena added: “In 2004, there were three nesting in the same nest. In 2005, material was transferred from the 2004 nest and a new nest was built in another plant. The 2005 nest was in a money plant creeper which died later in the year, so the nest was thrown away with the plant, and the 2006 nest was started afresh.”

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In June 2006 Lena reported that her bulbuls were nesting in her potted artificial grape plant that she placed in her garage. I have seen people using artificial plants for decoration. I have even seen people placing a potted artificial plant together with an artificial nest complete with a nesting bird in their garden. But this is the first time I have heard of a live bird building a nest in an artificial plant.

The June nesting saw only one chick hatching. The other remained unhatched, maybe as Lena quipped, “Perhaps its a case of dud plant, dud egg, haha. I am leaving the unhatched egg in the nest to see what the birds will do with it next year. “

On 9th November 2006 she reported the return of her bulbuls: “…bulbuls have been back to recce my garage a few times this past week, which is typical before their nesting in previous years (though I don’t recall them coming back quite so early previously). So I expect them to come back to nest again next year, typically around February. As they seem very comfortable with my family members, even responding to our calls to them, I suspect they are either the previous pair, or fledglings from the several broods in the past years.”

Lena removed the dud egg from the nest in her artificial plant as she thought the presence of the egg might give the impression that the nest was taken. The bulbuls returned and made use of the same old nest in March 2007. Judging from the behaviour of the birds Lena suspected that the female laid an egg

Unfortunately the nesting was unsuccessful: “Yes unfortunately, this nesting produced another dud egg as with the last nesting. We weren’t in a position to see how many eggs were laid in this nesting because of the position of the nest, and the nesting bird on top of the nest. I will remove this year’s dud egg soon; hopefully the nest will be re-used again…

“Thought I might add that, for this failed nesting, we think that two eggs were laid (as has been for all the previous broods), and that one egg did hatch (the birds’ behaviour changed from one bird brooding to both birds taking turns to come to the nest sometimes bringing food and perching on the side of the nest). The mystery then is what happened to the chick that was being fed, as there was no sign of it when I checked the nest a few days after it was abandoned. I only found one dud egg. The chick would then have been 5-6 days old. I can only guess that the nest was raided and the chick was eaten, by either a crow or a koel (several pairs around my area).”

Lena Chow
Singapore
April 2007
(Images by Meng and Melinda Chan.)

Olive-backed Sunbird : A miscalculated nesting

posted in: Nesting-failed, Sunbirds | 90

I was alerted to the nesting of a pair of Olive-backed Sunbirds (Cinnyris jugularis, formerly Nectarinia jugularis) by KC Tsang in April 2006. The nest was attached to a frond of a palm by a well-trodden path in a popular park. The elongated, flash-shaped nest was attached to the inside face of the frond and the opening was thus facing the palm stem and away from the road.

The nest was just above eye level. Yet, nearly all passersby failed to notice it. The nest looked like a bunch of dead leaves hanging on to the palm frond. I myself failed to notice it whenever I walked passed it in the evenings.

By May 2006 the nesting ended as the nest was empty for days after. Olive-backed Sunbirds usually lay one to three eggs but only one chick fledges. The empty nest deteriorated and on examination it contained one unfertilized egg. So I presume one chick must have fledged.

In March 2007 another nest was built on the same palm but attached to a different frond. Whenever I passed the spot and remembered the presence of the nest, I took a casual look and there was always a beak projecting from the opening (below left). Then in early April I noticed the frond where the nest was attached was drying out and its sheath was about to be detached from the stem. Thinking that nesting was completed, I moved close and suddenly a bird flew out. The nest was still active.

The next evening I made it a point to check on the nest. The frond was gone. An older frond that was about to fall off was also missing. On looking at the ground below, I saw two old fronds lying side by side. One frond had the nest still attached (left, arrow). There were no eggs inside. There was no sign of any eggs lying around nearby either.

Did the old fronds got detached by themselves or were they physically removed? My guess is that they were pulled down and left on the ground as they were lying side by side. It is possible that the maintenance crew did it, removing old and unsightly fronds from the palm. And not knowing(?) that there was an active nest attached.

I have since been told that such things happen all the time. Plants are regularly trimmed, nest and all. Now why can’t these people be made aware of such things – to leave active nests alone when pruning, etc?

Another puzzle is the absence of any eggs inside the nest. Were the eggs removed out of curiosity? And then thrown away?

Obviously the birds made a wrong choice by choosing a frond to build their nest that would not last the entire period of their nesting. Now how would the birds to know of such things?

Input and images by YC.

Black-shouldered Kites at play

posted in: Courtship-Mating, Raptors | 2

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Like most raptors, Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus) loves to put on an aerial display (left). It soars on thermals, sailing along in circles with its long and pointed wings held at a distinct V-angle and the feathers of the short, squared tail flared.

A male of a pair flying together may suddenly dive at the female, who may sideslip and present her talons. Occasionally this may result in talon-grappling and even cartwheeling down for a short distance before they unlock their talons.

The distinctive black shoulder patch, from which it gets its name, shows prominently when viewed from below when it is in flight. The black primaries against the whiteness of the rest of the body and the greyish tipped secondaries make the bird distinctive.

Tail-cocking or tail-wagging is a characteristic behaviour of both sexes. The tail may cock up suddenly but on the downstroke it is distinctly slow. In the presence of intruding kites, such movements can become more excited and faster.

In courtship the male may fly around slowly with stiff exaggerated flaps, commonly known as butterfly-flight.

In the series of images (below, right), two kites were about to confront each other with the lower about to bare its talons. But apparently the other decided not to respond and flew off, pursued by the other. Both birds sailed along with wings flapping in slow but strong strokes.

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Suddenly a third kite appeared, flying in to join the fray. This no doubt encouraged the persuing kite to catch up with the persued bird as it flew upwards with talons barring (below top). With one swift action the former managed to grip the talons of the latter. For a split second both kites flew along thus before the leading kite turned around and somehow managed to detach itself (below bottom).

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YC Wee
Singapore
April 2007
(Images by Chan Yoke Meng.)

Portrait of a Black Baza

posted in: Raptors | 0

The Black Baza (Aviceda leuphotes) is a relatively common winter visitor. The opportunity to examine it closely came when an injured bird was picked up by Alex Koh and nursed back to health to be subsequently released (left).

This is an easily recognisable black and white raptor with whitish underparts lined with black and chestnut bars. As with most raptors, the underparts are paler than the upperparts, making the bird less conspicuous when viewed from below.

The head is distinctly black, at the back of which are a few long black feathers that make up its erectile crest. The function here is probably simply display. With Jerdon’s Baza (Aviceda jerdoni) the crest feathers are white-tipped. When raised in alarm or in threat display, they are more conspicuous, especially when the feathers are totally black.

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The purplish brown to reddish brown eyes are placed on the sides of the head. They are large and round and protected by a bony ridge projecting from the skull above (right). This, together with the nictitating membrane, help protect the eyes when the bird dashes into the vegetation after prey.

Because the eyes are almost immovable in their sockets, the bird must turn its head to obtain binocular vision. To see behind, it must swivel its head on the extremely flexible neck. In fact the bird can turn its head up to 180 degrees (top).

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The bill is strongly hooked, the upper mandible lying over the lower. The upper mandible has a double tomial tooth (actually serrations, not true teeth) that may assist in breaking the neck vertebrae of prey (left). The lower mandible has the corresponding notches.

The basal part of the upper mandible is covered with a bare, fleshy, waxy membrane, the blue-grey cere, through which the flattened nostrils open (above).

Black Baza hunts from a perch. It may fly out to snatch a prey, dash to and fro when there is an insect swarm or a flock of roosting passerines and even plunge into dense vegetation. The bird is most active at dusk.

Text by YC Wee and images by Alex Koh.

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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