WHAT: What we’re observing is an Olive-backed Sunbird, the most common Sunbird in Singapore. Sunbirds should not be confused with hummingbirds, their American counterpart. While they hover occasionally, they can do so for nowhere near the time hummingbirds do, are much larger, and merely fill the same ecological niche. They build hanging, flask-shaped nests, with an entrance at the top, that are hollow on the inside – that’s where the female climbs in to incubate her eggs.
WHERE: Right now the female Sunbird is in the process of constructing the nest in a rather incongruous place – right outside the tech office! On the opposite side of the atrium is another nest, which is fully built, and is either a ‘back-up’ option or has been abandoned by another pair for a week, before they return to lay their eggs.
WHO: Females can be distinguished from males by their lack of a dark-blue throat, and are olive on the back, with a bright yellow underside. If all goes well, following the female’s completion of the nest, we’ll see a week of inactivity, a week of incubation, and then two to three weeks before the chicks fledge.
WHEN: The webcam is live during school hours and will be up by 10:00 a.m. at the latest every day. As of now, the female is visiting about once every five to ten minutes with material for the nest, but nothing is guaranteed, especially during break or lunch when the area is especially busy. Please refrain from talking too loudly near the nest and going too close – the birds are very sensitive to disturbance and we don’t want to see the nest abandoned!