LOVE IS IN THE AIR AS GROUND DOVES BOOST BREEDING PROGRAMME IN JURONG BIRD PARK

– Ground doves, known for their faithfulness to their partners until death, hatched as a result of careful diet and husbandry planning; Luzon and Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons among rare species.

A Luzon bleeding heart pigeon in Jurong Bird Park’s South East Asian Aviary. After a successful breeding programme, 10 progenies will be sent back to the Philippines this year to increase the wild population on Polillo Islands.
A Luzon bleeding heart pigeon in Jurong Bird Park’s South East Asian Aviary. After a successful breeding programme, 10 progenies will be sent back to the Philippines this year to increase the wild population on Polillo Islands.

Singapore, 13 February 2014 – With Valentine’s Day happening tomorrow, Jurong Bird Park is a-flutter with successful hatchings of ground dove pigeons, known for their faithfulness to their partners until death. Amongst them are Luzon and Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons, both of which can only be found in the Philippines.

A Mindanao bleeding heart pigeon in Jurong Bird Park, seen here at Heliconia Walk.
A Mindanao bleeding heart pigeon in Jurong Bird Park, seen here at Heliconia Walk.

After a successful two-year breeding programme, Jurong Bird Park now has ten Luzon bleeding heart pigeon progenies ready to be sent back to the Philippines this year to be released to the wild on Polillo Islands. Luzon bleeding heart pigeons are a threatened species of bird, with declining numbers in the wild due to deforestation and the illegal pet trade.

The project is Jurong Bird Park’s first off-site conservation project involving an endemic species from the Philippines in the ASEAN region. Recognising Jurong Bird Park’s expertise in conservation and breeding, two pairs of Luzon bleeding heart pigeons arrived in the park two years ago as part of an agreement signed with Avilon Zoo (Philippines) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in the Philippines. These birds started breeding from October 2012 and continued through January 2014 to produce 10 progenies.

All bleeding heart pigeons and golden heart doves are part of a group of Australasian pigeons known as ground doves, known to be very faithful to their partners until death. If one dies, the other will look for another to pair up with. Upon becoming parents, both males and females will take turns to incubate the eggs. For the first few days of a chick’s life, the chick is fed crop milk produced by both genders. Once the chick is older, both parents will forage for food for the young. Ground doves are very caring, often preening each other and their chicks. They will also sun bathe together, strengthening the bond communally.

“To have 10 Luzon bleeding heart pigeon progenies available for release over a short span of two years is a remarkable achievement. This project was initiated with the aim of contributing to the recovery of this species in its natural habitat, and we look forward to developing more conservation projects for other endemic Philippine species. The success and the knowledge gained paves the way for Jurong Bird Park to engage in other similar regional conservation projects.” said Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Science Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

A pair of Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons arrived in the Bird Park from San Diego Zoo in September 2013, as part of an exchange programme. Although this pair was not known to be prolific breeders, they adjusted well to their new home and that a few weeks after their arrival, they laid one fertile egg, which hatched after an 18-day incubation period. Another fertile egg was laid just before Christmas last year, which also yielded a chick.

A first-ever breeding of Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons in Jurong Bird Park, seen here at Heliconia Walk with a three month old chick.
A first-ever breeding of Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons in Jurong Bird Park, seen here at Heliconia Walk with a three month old chick.

A two-pronged scientific approach involving husbandry and diet was taken towards the successful breeding of the Luzon and Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons. The Luzon bleeding heart pigeons were placed in an off-site aviary with minimal human contact, while a specialised diet with increased protein levels was provided for added nutrients during breeding season. Although the Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons were placed in a visible public enclosure, the aviary was properly landscaped, which provided the birds with a heightened sense of security necessary for breeding. Similarly, they were also given a protein-rich diet during breeding season.

In addition to the successful hatchings, Jurong Bird Park will welcome two pairs of golden heart doves from Germany for breeding and conservation purposes. Endemic to Papua New Guinea, these birds are uncommon in institutions as it is a challenge obtaining birds from New Guinea due to governmental restrictions.

Come to Jurong Bird Park this February to see the Luzon bleeding heart pigeons at the South East Asian Exhibit, and the Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons at Heliconia Walk. Two pairs of golden heart doves will be on display from April at Window on Paradise. For more information, please visit www.birdpark.com.sg

A HOUSE AND FOOD FOR THE BIRDS AT JURONG BIRD PARK

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)

1 BIRD PARK, 40 BIRD HOUSES!

JURONG BIRD PARK TEAMS UP WITH STUDENTS TO BUILD BIRDHOUSES TO ENCOURAGE NESTING

Singapore, 22 March 2011 – In conjunction with Earth Day 2011 and Jurong Bird Park’s 40th anniversary, the world’s largest bird park is working with students from Nanyang Polytechnic and Greenridge Primary School to build 40 bird houses. Some of the bird houses will be placed in the two schools, as well as in Jurong Bird Park’s African Waterfall Aviary and Southeast Asian Birds Aviary, and are a part of the Park’s ongoing efforts towards conservation and education.

These bird houses, also known as nest boxes, will advocate nesting of small birds such as love birds, starlings, magpie robins, fairy blue-birds, and white-rumped shamas at the aviaries. Such bird houses are presently provided in the aviaries to minimise aggression and competition for nesting sites when breeding season comes round. These bird houses have proven to be popular, with 80-90% of them utilised every season.

On 22 March, an avian keeper will teach and supervise students as they build and paint the bird houses at a day learning session. Held at the Bird Discovery Centre in the Bird Park, students will have the opportunity to learn more about the different species of birds, nature and habitats available at the park. Members of the public are also invited to visit the park a day after Earth Day on 23 April 2011, where the students will get a chance to engage visitors and assist them in building individual bird houses.

“Jurong Bird Park has evolved from a recreational park into a centre for bird life, with a strong focus on education and conservation. Education plays a pivotal role in the area of conservation and we believe it is crucial for all our guests to be aware of, and understand the importance of biodiversity. Through this, we hope this will inspire our guests, even the very young, to develop a passion for bird life,” said Ms Fanny Lai, Group Chief Executive Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

She added, “Bird houses are considered scientific tools when used properly since a great deal of learning can be done by observing birds in them. A good example is the bird house we designed for the Oriental pied hornbill project which led to a successful nationwide re-introduction programme. Bird houses also play an important role in the conservation of birds in heavily populated urban areas like Singapore where very few natural nesting places are found. Birds have different physical and behavioral needs, thus there is not one bird house that is suitable to all. The types of birds that will nest on a garden, yard or property are largely determined by the habitat. As such, a mixture of habitats may attract a greater number of birds back to Singapore. I hope more schools and organisations will come forward to build more bird houses to revive bird life in Singapore.”

As part of this project, Nanyang Polytechnic and Greenridge Primary School will be placing three and five bird houses respectively, on their school compound. These bird houses are targeted to provide a habitat for magpie robins to nest.

“Getting our students to be involved in the bird house project is a small but important step in bringing them closer to nature and especially in caring for our feathered friends. This project will certainly get the students to think about creative ways in making bird houses, and we look forward to their excitement when the schoolyard evolves from a simple garden to a sensorial environment where students can actually get closer to bird life,” said Mrs Chew Lai Mun, Principal, Greenridge Primary School.

Bird houses that will be placed in the Southeast Asian Birds Aviary are painted in earth tones such as khaki green, brown and black, with illustrations of rainforest elements. Although non¬toxic paint is used, bird houses are not painted for the African Waterfall Aviary due to the differences in behavioural characteristics of the birds. Birds in the African Waterfall Aviary have strong beaks, and there is the possibility of them nibbling and scraping off the paint, while their counterparts in the Southeast Asian Birds Aviary have soft bills, which minimise that possibility.

Greenridge Primary students hard at work assembling
Primary students adding colour to the assembled bird houses
A sea of happy faces