Singapore, 21 June 2012 – Slightly more than a month ago on 12 May, the veterinarian team at Jurong Bird Park created nostrils for a blue-headed pionus parrot. As the case is extremely rare, this is the first time such a surgical procedure has been performed at the Bird Park.

The parrot was part of the Jungle Jewels exhibit. She had a chronic nasal infection which healed, but she somehow recovered in an odd fashion, and there was tissue growth in the nostrils, which blocked it and prevented her from breathing properly. As a result, she was breathing through her beak when she flew. Her beak is also deformed due to corrosion from the nasal infections’ toxins and enzymes.

When the case was brought to the attention of the veterinarians at the Park, research and check ups were conducted over a period of time before a course of treatment was decided on. The veterinarians decided to re-create nostrils for the parrot. During the 1.5 hour surgery, tissue which grew in the nostrils had to be removed to create a canal for proper breathing. Incisions were made at the top of the nose for a soft plastic tube to be inserted into the nostrils and out, under the beak and eventually securing the tube at the back of the parrot’s head with a valve.

“We had to leave the plastic tube in place for 4-6 weeks to prevent secondary healing. Having the tube sent a signal to the body to not repair the empty space left after the removal of tissue, so that tissue does not grow back at the vacant area. That eventually became the nostrils. The parrot recovered well from anesthesia, and she was active and strong as well, which bode well for her prognosis,” said Dr Melodiya Magno, Veterinarian, Jurong Bird Park.

After the surgery, she was tube-fed with parrot formula and given daily injections to relieve her pain. Additionally, a mixture of saline and antibiotics was injected into the valve daily to treat the sinuses and the surgical site.

Today, the parrot has recovered, and the veterinarians will remove the tube, conduct a physical check, take an x-ray and extract blood for testing, to ensure that she is completely well before sending her to the Breeding and Research Centre to be a part of the breeding programme.

Inserting a tube through a metal trocar to create new nostrils, May 12
Original nostrils which are blocked, and the new openings with the tube in place above the original nostrils, May 12
Removal of tissue from original blocked nostrils, Jun 09
After removal of tissue which
were blocking the original nostrils, the tube which was inserted through the new nostrils could connect the upper respiratory
tract to the choanal slit to
promote proper drainage of sinus secretions and normal breathing, Jun 09
Suturing the new nostrils after the tube was removed, Jun 21
Blue-headed pionus parrot with functioning original nostrils, Jun 21



Earth Day took on special meaning for some students and parents from Greenridge Primary School today.

A group of 15 students, two teachers and five parents spent the day at Jurong Bird Park assembling and painting 40 bird houses, which will be used in the Park’s African Waterfall Aviary, Jungle Jewels and Southeast Asian Birds Aviary. These nest boxes will facilitate nesting of small birds such as love birds, starlings, magpie robins, fairy blue-birds, white-rumped shamas and zebra doves at the aviaries.

They also spent some time creating awareness about Earth Day and avian conservation amongst guests who visited the Park, teaching visitors how they could, in a few easy steps, create a bird feeder out of recycled drink cartons. Visitors took home these bird feeders, which are to be placed outdoors to attract birds like the common sparrows, mynahs, and maybe even the orioles and munias.

Muhd Ariffin (left) and schoolmate Atif, both 11 years of age, screw two bird houses together at the Bird Discovery Centre.
Loh Ying Xuan (left) and Nur Syafiqah, both 11 years of age, working together to assemble a bird house at the Bird Discovery Centre.
A young guest cuts open a drink carton to make the bird feeder after receiving instructions from Madam Chai Mee Yong and her seven year old daughter, Loh Ying Jie.
Mabel Ang, 12, assists a young guest who is starting to cut open a drink carton.
Young guests enjoying the Earth Day bird feeder handicraft session.


Students from Greenridge Primary assembled the wooden bird houses for the exhibits (left), and taught visitors to the Park as well. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 2 April 2012 – Complementing the Bird Park’s continued focus on conservation and education, and in conjunction with Earth Day 2012, 15 students from Greenridge Primary School will be at Jurong Bird Park on 21 April to build 40 bird houses. As an extension of the Earth Day project, several Greenridge Primary students, together with their parents, will be on hand to guide visitors to the park how they can make a simple bird feeder from drink cartons.

This is the second year students have offered their assistance to make the bird houses, also known as nest boxes, for Jurong Bird Park. It was a cause which the students identified with, and one of the Greenridge Primary students who took part in this last year is in Secondary 1 this year, but wanted to come down again to help in this project. “It was a wonderful journey for me because prior to the assembling of the birdhouses, we did some research on deforestation and were shocked to find the number of trees chopped down each day. It just made me wonder – while the trees are being chopped down how many animals or birds depending on the tree as their homes would have suffered. And these trees would have been cut down to make paper and even my books. So I thought this would be a little contribution, to assemble some bird houses for the birds,” commented Sadia Tasneem, 13 years old.

After making them with an Avian Supervisor’s assistance at the Bird Discovery Centre in the Bird Park, the students will also paint these nest boxes in earthy colours, complete with a rainforest theme. Several nest boxes will be placed in Greenridge Primary, as well as in Jurong Bird Park’s African Waterfall Aviary, Jungle Jewels and Southeast Asian Birds Aviary. These nest boxes will facilitate nesting of small birds such as love birds, starlings, magpie robins, fairy blue-birds, white- rumped shamas and zebra doves at the aviaries.

“We provide these nest boxes during breeding season to minimise aggression and competition amongst the birds for nesting sites. The birds like having a secure, comfortable place to breed – we have seen a take up rate of about 80-90% every season for these nest boxes. Greenridge Primary was one of two schools who worked with us on this project last year, and we would like to thank them for their continued support towards our programmes,” said Mr Raja Segran, General Manager, Jurong Bird Park.

On the same day, members of the public can take part in a free recycled bird feeder activity* led by the primary school students and their parents at the Penguin Coast exhibit, located within the Bird Park. By applying some craftwork on the readily available nondescript drink carton, it becomes a simple bird feeder which visitors can take home with them to be placed outdoors to attract birds like the common sparrows, mynahs, and maybe even the orioles and munias. Materials for the activity are on a first come first served basis, so fly by Jurong Bird Park on 21 April!

Event details:
Bird Feeder craft activity
Date: 21 April 2012 (Saturday)
Time: 11.30am – 2pm
Location: Penguin Coast
* Only the Bird Feeder activity is open to the public, and normal admission charges to Jurong Bird Park apply.

Build a Birdhouse
Date: 21 April 2012 (Saturday)
Time: 9am – 3pm
Location: Bird Discovery Centre (closed door event)