Flights of fancy at Jurong Bird Park

urbanissmo by kenneth irving ong

Sunday lunch with the extended family is an affair I dare not miss. Food is always good but the company and the catching up is so much better.

During one of these Sunday lunches, me and my cousins talk about travel and the many wonderful experiences we had with friends and family and then I remember a cousin talking about going to Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park and what a wonderful experience it was for her and her kids.

At the King of the Skies raptor show.
Greater Flamingoes at the Flamingo Pool.

While I had been to Singapore quite a few times in the past, I haven’t gotten myself to visit Jurong Bird Park mainly because I was pre-occupied with exploring downtown Singapore. So on my trip to Singapore last February, I headed out to Jurong Bird Park to finally have a feel of what it was all about. Needless to say, I was like a little kid, waiting anxiously in the taxi cab, waiting to finally set foot on one of the world’s largest bird park.

Learning more about the hornbil.

All the anxiety gave way to wonder and awe as I started to explore park’s 49 rolling acres. There is the Penguin Coast which houses penguins from colder regions in a climate controlled den indoors and African penguins outdoors.

Kids will definitely love the park’s massive Flamingo Pool and Flamingo Lake with their colourful flamingoes as well as ibises, green iguanas, and cape shelducks. There is also the colourful Parrot Paradise which features the park’s macaws, conures and cockatoos.

Beyond the bird cage

One can get even closer to the birds at the park’s Lory Loft, the world’s largest walk-in aviary. Simulating a rainforest valley, the Lory Loft is home to over 1,000 fee-flying lories, parrots, cockatoos and parakeets. For a small fee, visitors can get personal with the birds by offering the lories a special nectar mix.

Inside the Breeding and Research Centre.

For a more interactive experience, the park has three shows that aim to educate and entertain guests, young and old alike. I was able to catch the King of the Skies Show where birds of prey such as eagles, hawks, falcons, and even vultures were put to their paces in a simulated hunt.

Message of conservation

Talking about birds of prey, another reason why I wanted to visit Jurong Bird Park are the two Philippine Eagles, Geothermica and Sambisig, who were loaned to Singapore last year as part of the first international Philippine Eagle loan agreement between the governments of the Philippines (through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources) and Singapore (through Wildlife Reserves Singapore [WRS], Jurong Bird Park is one of the zoological facilities managed by WRS).

Hyacinth Macau at the Parrot Paradise.

Aside from edutainment, the Jurong Bird Park is active in the research and conservation of endangered bird species like the Bali Mynah and Blue-throated Macaw. With their expertise in handling and rearing birds, I hope to see Jurong Bird Park become successful in hatching the first Philippine Eagle outside of the Philippines in the near future.

While the Jurong Bird Park can be considered far from where the shopping and eating happens in Singapore, the a walk around the park and its many trails and exhibits is a welcome relief from the Lion City’s modernity while also giving a chance to learn and appreciate the beauty of nature more intimately.

The Philippine Eagle takes the spotlight.
Feeding time at the Lory Loft.