Blue-winged Pitta flew into our living room!

“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!”

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Blue-winged Pitta in Bidadari, October 2013

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.

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SPCA rescuer holding the pitta that flew into our living room!

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

REFERENCES

NUS website

Wikipedia 

SPCA 

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12 thoughts on “Blue-winged Pitta flew into our living room!

  1. Do cities have a responsibility to dim their lights in order to make a safe path for birds, or to have certain ‘dark areas’? Or should all forests have larger, unlit buffer zones? Interesting post – a discussion is needed about the issues you raise.

    1. Good questions that you raised Tanvi! In any case, we do, as a city, need to reduce the light pollution.. there’s no need for so many lights especially in areas like Marina Bay- its simply for the aesthetics. Those lights can be really blinding! As citizens we should also reduce the risk of birds flying in by keeping lights off when not really needed at night and when birds do fly in, we must immediate action to make sure they are under safe hands and also spread the word about it so more people know what to do when it happens and how they can make a difference in their own little way.

    1. Thank you. It’s still unbelievable. The feather (which is a stunning bluish green) I keep reminds me of the amazing experience

  2. You did the right thing by calling the SPCA person. It seems like he was able to help the pitta without stressing it out too much. I’m glad your story had a happy ending!

    Also, thanks for sharing that bright city lights affect some migratory birds. I hadn’t realized that before.

    Good post!

    1. Thank you for reading my post, Josh! I really appreciate it. Yes, the SPCA were very helpful and it’s great to know that the bird is in safe hands. I actually didn’t know about the bright lights until this incident. New York has decided to actually dim non-essential lights during peak migratory seasons(http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32491715) It’s an amazing move and more countries should do so!

      1. That’s good news about New York! I hope my city, Cleveland, follows suit. Apparently we’re an important stop for migrating waterfowl on their way to and from Canada. We’re already restoring some natural areas for the birds to rest in, so dimming our lights at night wouldn’t be any harder. And no one wants a goose flying into their window.

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