Monday, April 5, 2010

This Place Has Gone to the Birds!!!!

Hey all,

Wow! What an experience!!! I wasn't expecting a lot. Bird parks are interesting, but since the ones I've visited had the birds in small cages and weren't well run, I thought we'd be in for more of the same at the Jurong Bird Park in Singapore.

It, as I said on Friday, is the third leg of the Zoo family. And in it's own way, it is just as interesting as the first two we visited.

Huge, just as big as the other two, the Bird Park is set up with open air displays, cages and walk through aviaries. See HERE for map. (click to enlarge) There are tons of birds there, and a good half were ones we had never seen in real life before. That all by itself kicked it up the interesting notch.

Still, when we started, we did about a third of the park in less than forty minutes, so we figured a couple hours, tops, to finish.

Boy...were we wrong.

We went to a couple of talks. Ones that we'd never seen in another bird zoo before. One was the ostrich talk and the other was a chat about pelicans. Both were very interesting and we learned a lot about these creatures we were unaware of. But the best part was they fed the birds and it wasn't something we'd ever seen before.

The ostrich was named Oscar and if you haven't been eyeball to eyeball with one, let me tell you...they are BIG. Even in an enclosure that was lower than us, when he came up to be fed, he was as tall as I was. And we were allowed to feed them, which was totally cool. We were given these little bananas and when Oscar and his two ladies came up ,we'd hold them out, and they'd nip them out of our fingers. I loved it. Jonathon got some video, but I can't figure out how to put it up. (I'll see if I can add it on my website later.) So instead, here is a pic of Oscar.

Then we walked over to the pelican chat. Now growing up in California, we saw a lot of pelicans and they are one of my favorite coastal birds. Very common they are, but in all my visits to zoos I'd never seen them highlighted in a chat or show. And it was great. I learned there are eight different pelican species in the world and the American brown pelican is the ONLY one who dives for his food. The other species get together in groups and beat their wings against the water to drive the fish into the shallows where they are then eaten. Pretty cool.

They fed the pelicans as they talked and it was fun to watch them go for food. Each species would get talked about and then fed, and they each knew when it was their turn. Pretty amazing intelligence for someone we'd call a bird brain.

Anyway, after the show, we started back around the paths. It was at this point we figured maybe another hour or so and we'd be through. Then we found the African Waterfall Aviary. And our scheduled two hours was totally shot to Hell. LOL

This was the most amazing place. HUGE. I mean HUGE. And completely covered by nets. There were more birds here than in the whole park put together. Some of the most colorful and sweet sounding birds I have ever encountered. We stumbled onto another chat. This one called the Bee Eater and Starling Chat. It doesn't sound all that exciting, but let me tell you, it was the highlight of my day.

All because of the myriad species of birds who came down to be fed and talked about.

Our host was awesome. He knew each bird as if he hatched them himself. And boy...did they know him. He had this bin of mealy type worms and when he'd talk about a certain kind of bird, he'd hold up a worm and boom...that was the type that came to grab the treat. It was amazing.

Afterwards, we could buy food and do it ourselves and though I usually don't do that sort of thing, I had to try. This was such a unique experience. And boy am I glad I did. I held up the cup and was immediately inundated with birds of all colors, shapes and claw sharpness. LOL It was awesome.

And later on after most of the people had gone, I think the host was so pleased at my delight and obvious enthusiasm for his charges, he gave me more food free of charge ,and I was able to feed to my heart's content. It was totally a wonderful experience. I learned quite a lot about birds I'd never even heard of and I can't tell you how gorgeous they were. The pics below will have to give you some idea. Click to enlarge.








Anyway, Jonathon was finally able to drag me away and we continued on our journey. Again, there were so many birds I'd never seen before. Crowned pigeons with headresses Lady GaGa would envy. Asian pheasants that were beyond beautiful. Hornbills, toucans, and a World of Darkness display featuring owls that was just awesome.

We took some time in the Lory Loft and though I'd fed lories before, I couldn't help myself. I bought a little cup of nectar and out I went. By the time I was done, I'd been stared at, nibbled, walked on and had nectar shaken all over my head by one bird who thought I was a tree. It was great fun.

We wound up closing the park because we were so enthralled with everything. If I was staying in Singapore, I'd go back and just sit at the African Waterfall Aviary. It soothed my soul as well as being so colorful and interesting.

So, do I recommend the Jurong Bird Park? You're darn tootin' I do. Go early and stay the whole day. Take your time and watch the birds. Don't just walk by and give them a glance. Like any zoo, the longer you watch...the more you see.

And to end this blog, here are some more pictures of our day. All the favorites birds, experiences and fun...just for you to see. Enjoy!!!

This guy was a mystery bird. Even when one of the keepers gave us his name it was too difficult to understand. But I think he said it was a special kind of pigeon. Gorgeous!

This is what I think they called a Malay Myna Bird. He is an endangered species and the Jurong Bird park have an intensive breeding program going on with them. They even had cameras inside the nests so visitors could watch when they start laying eggs. Very cool.

My favorite parrot in the world. The sun conure. I've wanted one of these as a friend ever since I lived in Australia. Some day I will have one. His name with be Nekema.

Okay...so this isn't a bird, but we couldn't help it. LOL They were just soooo pointy!

These were those crowned pigeons I mentioned earlier. They had masses of them and they were just so beautiful Several sub-species, all with the ornate plumage on their heads. We actually found a feather and brought it home.

Jonathon had a good talk with this African gray parrot. They chatted for a good ten minutes while I wandered around and met all the other parrots. There were some I'd never seen nor heard of before. A wonderful display...even if the cages were a tad small.

I named these guys, The Beatles. I don't know, to me they just look like the fab four. LOL They did everything in unison. If one looked up, they all looked up. If one looked down, they all looked down. It was as if they were nodding to some music only they could hear.

I hope you liked all the pics. For more information on the Jurong Bird Park, go check out it's WEBSITE. I'll be back on Wednesday with another guest blogger, Eva Gordon! And she's got a blog you can really sink your teeth into!! Howling good fun!!!!

Hugs to all!!!

CJ England
http://www.cjengland.com/home/Do%20Me%20A%20Favor100x154.jpg
Follow Your Dreams

9 comments:

Phylis said...

It sounds as if you had way to much fun! I love to watch the birds. I think I would love this place too! Someday you have to come see the Sandhill Crane migration! It's awesome!

Julie said...

Wow! Sounds like a place I need to see. I'd love to be able to sit and just watch the birds. Miss Scarlett says she didn't see any birds as pretty as her. LOL

CJ England said...

OOoooo. Phylis, I'd love to come see that. I've seen other migrations, but never cranes.

CJ

CJ England said...

LOL Julie,

Tell Miss Scarlett I didn't either. LOL There were a few beauties close, but of course, she's one of a kind.

CJ

Elizabeth Delisi said...

What a wonderful trip, CJ. So happy you were able to spend time with the birds. I'm about to bring home a parakeet as soon as he's weaned, and I'm really looking forward to having a bird in the house and getting to know him.

Phylis, I've seen the Sandhill crane migration and you're right, it's spectacular!

Anonymous said...

Well, CJ, this blog certainly is a ‘feather in your cap’ haw, haw !. Two questions come to mind ~
First, did you channel Tippi Hedren [Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds] at any time that you were feeding the birds? and I’m wondering how are these birds going to show up in your writing? Perhaps a hero named Oscar who has a long neck? [Now you know why I’m not a writer, LOL].
So, where are you ‘flying off’ next? [grin]
Hugs, Sara J. ~ : - ]
sjr1groups@yahoo.com

CJ England said...

Elizabeth,

I've had parakeets and cockatiels and loved them both. They have their own personalities and are so much fun. Enjoy!!!

CJ

CJ England said...

Sara J,

Actually there were a couple times I felt all Alfred Hitchcocky. LOL One, when we went through this cage filled with scarlet ibis. They were everywhere and it was just like the scene in the movie.

Another time we walked down this rainforest type path and we could hear them calling on every side of us. It was creepy. LOL

As for what is next??? I'm going to hit a few museums, then next week I'm going to do a quick series on my writing retreat in Malaysia.

CJ

Michelle Houston said...

CJ,

I am so jealous!!!

I love the Miami zoo because of their kickin' aviary. : )

I'm also a bird lover in that I (and my family) are owned by four parakeets and eight finches. I hope to one day add to it and get a couple of lovebirds, and maybe a canary.

I also love working with wild birds, especially the raptors.

Michelle