If you’ve been raised in Singapore, or are a tourist visiting our country, you’d have visited the Jurong Bird Park at least once.
In fact, when my sister and I were kids, our parents used to take us to this bird sanctuary and the Singapore Zoo. Both parks are under the Wildlife Reserve Singapore (WRS) which manages our local parks while protecting and conserving the animals’ habitats.
Now for the honest truth: we’ve yet to take Vera and Leroy to the Jurong Bird Park! What blasphemy, isn’t it?! >.<
Well, there’s always a first time, so when an invite came along, it was perfect timing since it was the school holidays and my bestie was back to visit with her family. Her kids love animals, and what great fun it would be to have our kids explore nature and the great outdoors? The adults get to relive their own childhood too! 😆
Besides checking out the main attractions at the Jurong Bird Park, we’re about to let you in on a guided tour organised for visitors who are game for getting close to birds. Yes, that includes being able to stroke, feed and even get to “perform” tricks with these feathered friends!
PS: Score a chance to WIN a Bird’s Eye Tour visit (worth over $320!) for your family! Read on to find out how!
Getting Personal at the Bird’s Eye Tour
FUN FACT: The Bird’s Eye Tour was only launched less than a year ago!
Available daily (except when the Bird Park is closed), each tour group takes up to 7 visitors and you will visit sites around the Bird Park where the general public would most likely miss or would not be able to enter. Think of it as an exclusive one-to-one meeting with some of the park’s stars! :P
The Bird’s Eye Tour is a one-hour programme helmed by a guide. We were thankful to have Grace and Crystal with us when we visited, and that meant we could ask them any questions about the birds at the park. And we could tell that Grace, the senior guide who has been with the Jurong Bird Park for a long period, was enthusiastic about what she does, and equally knowledgeable too!
Our first stop: checking out the pink flamingos!
The large flock of pink flamingos was a spectacular sight, and our little girls were pointing out to them while observing these birds.
While they are nurtured by humans, flamingoes in the Bird Park and other waterfowl undergo annual health checks and flu vaccinations, to help keep them in the pink of health.
Also, their beautiful pinkish peach-hued feathers are a result of their seafood diet, which includes prawns. How interesting!
Did you know? Flamingos rest by standing on one leg! Oh my… those skinny legs are stronger than they seem!
Our second stop: Breeding and Research Centre
Often, the birds we see in the park are older than chicks and mostly adults. Have you ever wondered what happens to the eggs and after they have hatched?
That’s why the Breeding and Research Centre at the Bird Park is equipped to support little chicks, nourishing them in their early months until they are ready to join their family.
We entered a room to meet our new friend! This one-month-old baby bird was about to meet 4 excited humans! HAHA!
His carer told us that green-feathered Eclectus Parrots are males, while the red-feathered ones are females! WOW! Their gender gets them colour-coded by appearance!
I was caught by surprise when we were invited to touch this little baby bird. He was a little wobbly since he’s very young, but the bird keeper assured us that it was okay for human interaction (even unfamiliar faces!) despite his tender age.
Guess these two little girls were excited to stroke his fluffy feathers, and I was happy to see that Vera took to it very well, using gentle fingers :)
Besides stroking the baby parrot, we watched as it fed on formula milk like a wee baby. And then, I had to jump in and touch him for myself :P
I’m really not too brave when it comes to being up close with animals. But since we were already on the Bird’s Eye Tour, what fun would it be if I did not interact with these birds? #achievementunlocked
We also spotted some larger birds housed in larger cages. Turns out that they were about to be sent overseas, so they were being cared for and monitored for a bit before leaving the Bird Park :(
Our third stop: Performing tricks with raptors and other birds
Now, here comes the adventurous part of the Bird’s Eye Tour programme!
If stroking a baby parrot was an achievement unlocked moment for me, what you’re about to witness would be me actually conquering one of my fears. HAHA!
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I was pretty nervous when the day came, but I’m so glad to put my nerves aside and step up to facing some fears at the Jurong Bird Park recently! “What’s the big deal?”, you might ask. Watching these birds of preys was one thing; interacting with them was another. 😬 Raptors, eagles, vultures, owl, hornbill… I actually amazed myself, so I’m pretty happy that I’ll be ending the year with an #achievementunlocked kinda milestone 😆 The Bird’s Eye Tour is a private session offered by the park, and lets visitors get close to these feathered friends, stroking, feeding, even performing tricks with them (with their keepers/nannies by the side!), and it was a fowlsome experience for the kids too! 😁 We also learned facts about penguins and parrots, even caressing a 1-month old baby parrot at the Research and Breeding Centre. Did you know that it’s at the Bird Park too? Will be sharing more details of our experience soon! In the meantime, SWIPE and spot my scaredy-cat face above! 😂 And guess what? I learned that Vera is nothin like her mama, but a brave young girl! 👍🏼👍🏼 #phew Tickets are $98/adult and $65/child, only for 3-12yo. Participants need to be at least 1.2m to fly the raptor too. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire, and visit www.wrs.com.sg for more details! 🐥
YES, that’s me! I was wearing a leather protective glove on my left arm, outstretched with a vulture perched on it.
Watch this video to see how stiff I was when the bird came close! HAHAHA.
It was good fun, I’ve to say! The vulture was oblivious to the new faces, and went about doing its usual tricks with treats. It definitely didn’t bother it at all that we’ve only just met :P
Caption: Kids have to be at least 1.2m to fly the raptor, so our girls sat by the bench to watch their mummies play and be part of fun tricks!
After that, we proceeded to do more “tricks” with different birds! Not one, but with two birds flying around at the same time!
This time, I had a shiny flat lid with some treats on it, and they had to fly down to get the treats and land at different points.
And then…….. my favourite bird came along! While we didn’t get to fly him or do any tricks together, we could touch it and went pretty close to it. Even the little girls joined in!
Did you know? Owls can turn 270 degrees, and that allows them to keep their eyes around their surroundings, even at night! Almost like a surveillance camera if you think about it!
Our fourth stop: Hello, Sally!
Sally the hornbill is known to be a manja (meaning ‘indulgent/pampered’ in Malay) lady.
When we arrived at her spot, there were public visitors who were snapping photographs of her.
As guests of the Bird’s Eye Tour, we were allowed to enter the premises to interact with her and her keeper, Kim. In fact, our little girls got to feed Sally fruit such as grapes and blueberries. But Sally wasn’t in the mood for snacks, so she picked them up with her beak and tossed them out which intrigued her young visitors :P
Vera and Kinia were pretty amused when they saw the hornbill do that. Maybe it reminded them about themselves too? HA!
Sally’s sharp claws and weight on the little girls was a new experience for them – a hornbill can actually be quite heavy!
That was our final stop for the guided tour at the Jurong Bird Park, and Grace drove the buggy to send us back to where we met up.
It was definitely an exceptional experience for both children and us! Such behind-the-scenes of how birds are taken care of, and to witness their mums’ performances by the birds up close make really good memories for them :P I guess it helps that Vera and I learned a little more about each other too.
Special notes about the Bird’s Eye Tour at the Jurong Bird Park
There are seasonal special editions for the tour. This Chinese New Year, guests enjoy a hands-on session by making festive treats for the weaning birds. Do also look out for the Easter and National Day editions!
Understandably, while every attempt is made to include the animal interactions as planned, there may be unforeseen circumstances (e.g. when a bird is not feeling too well) where the outcome/level of interaction may not be guaranteed.
Look out for thematic campaigns at the Jurong Bird Park too!
With new attractions and new feathered friends who join the Bird Park from time-to-time, the people in Singapore and tourists can keep a sharp eye on the events!
Meet the Blue Macaw, walk alongside Doves and other birds too!
We entered the aviary and were walking around the different birds’ spaces. Some were really friendly and came close by. Maybe they were hoping we would feed them snacks – but visitors really shouldn’t. It’s just not good for them to be eating other stuff except their own food – so please don’t feed them tidbits!
We spent about six hours at the Bird Park and the kids were tired by the end of the day. We had a cranky kindergartener in our arms so we couldn’t get legit photos of the Blue Macaw. Sobs!
Yes, they’re like the blue parrot you see in the kids’ movie, Rio! The Blue Macaws are some of the rarest birds in the world, and they’re calling it home at our Jurong Bird Park for awhile!
If you’re planning to spend some family time at the Jurong Bird Park, do consider booking the Bird’s Eye Tour to interact with the birds and build your very own special memories too!
Find out more information about the Bird’s Eye Tour here.
EXCLUSIVE READERS GIVEAWAY!
Together with the Wildlife Reserves Singapore, we’re giving one family a chance to enjoy this special experience. Stand to WIN:
ONE complimentary Bird’s Eye Tour
for 2 Adults and 2 Children (worth over $320)
- LIKE The HOOting Post and Wildlife Reserves Singapore
- Leave a comment on the Facebook post by answering this question: Which part of the Bird’s Eye Tour programme are you most looking forward to?
- SHARE the Facebook post with this article on your profile. Remember to keep your settings public for verification :)
**TAG 3 friends for BONUS chances!
Terms and conditions:
- Contest ends 3 February 2019, 23:59 (Singapore time), and is opened to families in Singapore only.
- Valid for kids aged 3 to 12.
- Winners to redeem the prize within 3 months of notification
- Prebooking is required by emailing email@example.com. Tour is subject to availability. Other terms and conditions of the tour apply.
- Winner will be announced on the thread of the Facebook post. Winner will be required to provide contact details so the Wildlife Reserves Singapore team can get in touch with you.
What’s your favourite thing to do or see at the Jurong Bird Park in Singapore? Leave a comment below to share with other parents too!