Nearly 42 days the trees of Jemerlang @ Batai Laut in a remote corner of Taiping Lake Garden have become the focus of the public, especially bird photographers. Since a pair of Eurasian hoopoe birds, the species of migratory bird were seen nesting in the tree on 05.04.2021 and then getting busier with daily routines that attracted the attention of many. From there, Taiping Municipal Council, through the Zoo Department has coordinated a 24-hour monitoring programme for the birds involving about 30 to 35 officers, including photographers and researchers from 10.04.2021. Agencies, NGOs and groups involved in the project are Taiping Zoo & Night Safari, Department of Wildlife & National Parks ("DWNP") Peninsular Malaysia (PERHILITAN), Environmental Ecosystem Sustainability Organisation @ NEST and Taiping Birding Community and the first kick off meeting was held on 23.04.2021 to coordinate the surveillance and security to ensure the success of the hoopoe's breeding.
The unique and interesting experience of these birds is that we need to observe behaviour and need to study to understand what is implied and expressed behind a chosen hole into a nest. After five days of monitoring the pair's moves, it clearly shows that the couple are busy building a family!! It is not known how many eggs were laid (initially), when they will hatch and whether these birds will be safe from the threats around them, especially from predators.
Based on daily records, the frequency and number of trips the two birds commute to the nest by bringing home various types of food, there can be several growing cubs in the nest. This persistence of both mother and father hoopoes really makes people feel excited and amazed. At times, the couple flew in more than 200 times a day to bring home a variety of 'delicacies' to ensure that the chicks get enough protein to grow up quickly.
A few days before the eve of Eidul Fitr, two hoopoe chicks had started to show their presence at the mouth of the nesting pit. This behaviour has made many officers restless to sit down as they did not want to miss the opportunity to record the most beautiful moment when the hoopoe chicks flew out for the first time.
The long-awaited moment arrived as expected. On 14.05.2021 (2 Syawwal 1442H) at 8:06 am, the first chick fledged and reached the nearby brow of the nest. On the next day, the second chick responded to the same challenge and flew out to join the waiting family on 15.05.2021 (3 Syawwal 1442H), at 10:30 am. The third chick was still at the door of the nest hole, looking a little restless. Every once in a while, it disappeared into the nest and there were times where the chick showing its head out the hole.
The male hoopoe continues the routine of bringing back food for the third chick but not as often as before. It seems to deliberately allow this situation to encourage the last nestling to fly out. Meanwhile, the hoopoe's mother was seen with the two chicks, always nearby to ensure the safety of its chicks and to teach them how to find food for themselves.
Today, 17.05.2021 (5 Syawwal 1442H) at exactly 11:20 am, the last chick decides not to stay alone in the nest. With all his determination and energy, it hosed itself up and hosed the wings fast and then into the nearby tree. Seeing this last chick managed to land efficiently and safely on the tree branches, making our hearts relieved, mixed between satisfied, happy and a little sad.
For over 40 days observing the hoopoe family until the last moment of seeing each other leave the nest, there was a sense of awe for this small bird. The hoopoe's ardent parents took care of and raised their offspring within about six weeks and the ability of the birds to fly for the first time without being trained and landing without fail is truly an invaluable Almighty award.
The task of on-site monitoring will continue for a few more days to gather more information for the preparation of a complete report on this bird. As this is the first time this bird species has been seen nesting and successfully breeding in our country, the full report on it is expected to benefit all parties, especially ecotourism in Taiping.
Thank you to all who have made this project a success. Thanks also to the public and netizens who did not give up on support until the breeding project went smoothly. Alhamdulillah.
[Source: Translated from "Fascinating Taiping" FB page]
This is the photography journey of Nur Ismail Photography where all the experiences from this year onwards will be shared with the audience. In collaboration with NiSi Malaysia, Leofoto, SONY Malaysia and Skylum Software. Thanks for viewing!