Dr Chua Ee Kiam alerted birders to an injured Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) found in the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in mid-October 2007. The lower jaw was torn and a piece of flesh was dangling from it.
On 23rd November 2007, KC Tsang encountered the injured heron and reported that the “plumage has turned out to be well developed and beautiful. However, he tends to be smaller in size compared to others and he tends to hide under plant cover in fear compared to his brothers up on the tree canopy displaying their breeding plumage.” The bird was still alive one month after first sighted.
Now, Meibao encountered the injured bird on 6th January 2008 (left), three months after it was first reported and writes: “…I managed to get a few shots of it yesterday morning at SBWR. It’s still alive and kicking, but took off after I tried to get nearer to get a close up shot.”
James Gan, a Senior Conservation Officer with the National Parks Board who is stationed in the reserve has this to say:
“The Purple Heron with a gap in its throat has been present in Sungei Buloh for several months. Many people including visitors and photographers have remarked and wondered how this individual ended up with such a distinguishing feature. Some have come up with theories. Others have wondered if it could survive in the wild wetlands. Yet others have wondered if humans should intervene to help this heron. This Purple Heron has needed no human help. It has shown itself to be a true survivor and possess the survival instinct to live and thrive in the wild. We are glad that the heron has chosen to make its home in Sungei Buloh. We hope to see it around the wetland for many more months and years.”
The bird has now shed its breeding plumage. Can photographers and birders please report back if the injured bird is sighted in the future.
Image top by KC and bottom by Meibao.