Well I would have thought our national bird would be the small black bird with the bright yellow beak that you see hopping about everywhere. I am always terrified that we will run over one because they just sit there on the road and hop away at the very last moment. I always mentally scream, “fly away darn it!” when I see them gathered defiantly in the middle of the road. It reminds me of that episode in Seinfeld when George is traumatized when he runs over some pigeons.
George Costanza: I don’t get these birds; they’re breakin’ the deal! It’s like the pigeons decided to ignore me.
Jerry Seinfeld: So they’re like everyone else.
It’s funny in the show, but it’s one of the reasons I don’t want to drive. There’s no way I’m hitting a bird.
Here’s photo I managed to snap of one of them, because they are bold and don’t fly away, even when you’re pretty close.
Singapore’s national bird is actually the crimson sunbird. Well according to Wikipedia and out there on the interweb forums at least. It doesn’t seem to be official. As it’s name suggests it’s a beautiful red, and it feeds mainly on nectar. I guess they decided to pick a prettier bird that doesn’t feed on the remains of hawker food like the poor Javan Myna. I worry about what this will do to the species. Or perhaps they didn’t chose the Javan Myna as it would probably be more abundant in Java as it’s name suggests?
The Nature Society did a count in 2001 and these yellow beaked creatures rule as our most common bird. First records of them being in Singapore were way back in the 1920’s. The pretty little brown Eurasian sparrow was the most common bird back in the 1920’s and as a child I remember always seeing these lovely little creatures fluttering about. It’s sad that their population has diminished since we went from kampungs to skyscrapers in breakneck speed. The brown birdies went from number 1 back then to number 7 in 2001. This reflects reality as I hardly see them anymore.
If you are a nature lover, you will enjoy the full fascinating report by Lim Kim Seng of the Nature Society. I once went on a small bird watching expedition years ago with an ardent bird watcher, and so I feel nostalgic when reading about birds and the society’s work. When I see birds flying freely, I just feel a sense of serenity.
There is a joke that our national bird is Singapore Airlines, our national carrier.
I am thoroughly embarassed to say that I only just realized that it’s symbol is that of a yellow bird. I never paid much attention before I started blogging, although it’s my favourite airline.