Jurong Bird Park

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August 16th 2018
Published: August 16th 2018
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To get to the bird park, I decided the easiest option was to get the MRT to Boon Lay station and from there I could get an ordinary bus to the bird park.

This wasn't super-quick, but was probably the quickest public transport option and it's very straightforward. It wasn't too long after opening time that I got to the zoo, and I had a good nine hours to see everything which is plenty of time. I had heard that one day wasn't quite enough, but if you don't spend long periods of time resting and keep moving through, it's plenty of time even at a slow photography pace. It was extremely hot and humid today though, and I was more tired than yesterday.

There are lots of very impressive things at Jurong with a very large number of rarities as well as some very impressive enclosures. The Waterfall Aviary is a big impressive walkthrough with a 100-foot waterfall in it, and the Jungle Jewels and Wings of Asia aviaries were both very good with lots of rarities. The latter exhibit was very Walsrodeish reminding me of many of the exhibits at Weltvogelpark Walsrode with a free flying middle bit and lots of aviaries with the small birds around the outside. Jurong doesn't have a huge number of long rows of aviaries with small birds like Walsrode does. It certainly has a lot, just not the vast unending rows at Walsrode that take a very long time to move through. The big walkthrough aviaries take a lot of time to find inhabitants, but I think the zoo is doable in a full day, unlike Walsrode. I'll avoid comparing it to Walsrode too much though, although it is an obvious comparison.

The highlight species at Jurong for me, as well as the many smaller species that were new for me, especially in Wings of Asia, was the Blue Macaw exhibit. They hold Hyacinth Macaws, and, wait for it, Lear's and Spix's Macaws. SPIX'S! These are two species I've wanted to see for a very long time and I'm ecstatic that I've seen them. Great birds.

My main criticism is probably the signage which was terribly incomplete in many areas and mostly lacked distribution maps or information and was short on general facts in my opinion. The other main complaint is that very often mesh aviaries had quite dirty and metallic mesh, making photography tricky.

I got around the whole place by 3PM, not rushing at all but also not really stopping at all, and watched the bird show which was not bad, but nothing particularly amazing. I caught the raptor show a bit later too, which I would describe similarly, though more theatrical than average. There were things I wanted to go back to look at again as well as to spend longer looking for other free-flying birds that I had missed and I had enough time to do that because I had done it at a slow pace the first time around. There are just so many rarities and really impressive aviaries at Jurong, not quite on the scale of Walsrode but setting Walsrode as the bar for bird collections is an impossibly high standard and Jurong is excellent.

One can, of course, criticise husbandry: some of the enclosures could have been larger - although not many thanks to being in Singapore so being able to keep tropical birds in aviaries that would be orders of magnitude more expensive to build in Europe - there were a lot of clipped/pinioned flamingos and pelicans that would obviously be better off in aviaries and I feel that is within Jurong's capacity for development.

But the entire bird collection of Jurong will be moving soon and within a couple of years should be located at an entirely different site with the other collections, and I feel very fortunate to have seen Jurong before it moves. (Well I visited when I was much younger, but that doesn't count) My instinct is that the move will not be an improvement because I expect they will go more Singapore Zoo style with open things and looking pretty. Just change some of the mesh for newer, cleaner, black painted stuff, give some things a scrub and patch, and they'd be all set to continue as they are. We'll see I suppose.

Although hot and tiring and fueled by overpriced ice cream and cold drinks, I very much enjoyed my day at Jurong, as expected, and left for closing time. I don't feel like I rushed at all though and it can comfortably be done in a day in its current state, I know they had more rarities at some time in the past.

So I headed out for closing time at 6 and went back via the bus and MRT route, getting back in about an hour. Tomorrow, I think I will visit Pulau Ubin.

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