“I think there’s a bird in our home!” said my sister, last Tuesday night. She told me to come slowly to our living room. We heard some frantic flapping from behind the curtains. At first we thought it was hitting the window from outside, but when we went nearer, there was a flash of colours and the bird seem to have hidden somewhere in the hall.
On approaching the table from where we heard the flapping of wings, a frightened bird stood in the corner, below the table. Its droppings lay all over the floor. I recognized it in an instant, whispering to my sister “Blue-winged Pitta!”
I could not believe it! It was almost 11pm at night and all sorts of questions came into my mind as to where it flew from, why it flew in and what we were supposed to do!
Instead of going near the already very frightened bird, we thought it was best to call SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). We had a similar experience when a Pink-necked green pigeon flew into our home last month and the SPCA animal emergency had come to take the bird to safety. We did the same and the gentleman from SPCA came within half an hour of us calling him. He deftly and swiftly picked the bird up without stressing it, and told us he would take it to the nursing center at Jurong Bird Park.
Blue-winged Pittas (Pitta moluccensis) breed in South China, Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia. It has an Oct-Dec autumn passage, Mar-April spring passage and also, recently discovered, a winter passage. Since the spring passage is coming to an end, this Pitta may have been well on its way home. They have been observed in Singapore in varied habitats such as forest, wooded gardens and secondary scrub. They are highly solitary birds and rather shy.
According to SPCA, the bird probably got disoriented by the lights at home since it was late at night. In spite of being quite excited and feeling extremely lucky that this beautiful bird, an uncommon winter and spring migrant to Singapore had flown right into my home, I couldn’t help but feel sad that these occurrences may be increasing because we are cutting down more forests and trees. These birds get disoriented by bright lights in cities that in turn affect their migratory patterns. Cities like Singapore which have tall buildings in close vicinity to parks and forests affect birds that migrate or venture out to find food, as they may fly inside through open windows or crash into them.
We need more wild and green spaces for migratory birds to rest. I should also go to bed earlier and not keep my lights on so late!
Thanks to SPCA for rescuing the bird! In any case of animal emergency in Singapore, do call their hotline +65 62875355