The Circle of Life

The Circle of Life

Category: Wildlife Behaviour, Human Wildlife Coexistence
Topics: Urbanisation, Birds, Nest Predation
Species: Oriental Pied Hornbill, Black Naped Oriole
Specialities: Video Production, Script Writing, Videography, Photography, Video Editing

This independent video production by Lens & Pens provides a fresh insight into nest predation by Oriental Pied Hornbills in Singapore.

In Singapore the Oriental Pied Hornbill is so widespread, that it is hard to believe they only recolonised this tiny island city state recently. The popular hornbill is well adapted to the urban environment. Yet, the increasing reports of their nest predation behaviour are shifting the public perception of this urban icon.

The urban predator paradox suggests that nesting closer to human habitation reduces the risk of nest predation. However, two birds’ nests were mysteriously preyed on from the balcony of wildlife photographer and filmmaker, Tim Plowden. When an oriole nested in a tree at the back of his apartment, he set up a hide in his store room to document their breeding cycle. He was also hoping to unravel the mystery of the nest predation.

His filming confirmed his suspicions when he captured the first visit of a male hornbill to the nest. What followed was a tense month of observational filming. Tim was witness to repeated nest predation attempts by the omnivorous hornbill. Trying to remain detached was difficult. The plucky determination of the oriole pair roused deep empathy in the father, who’s daughter was 2 years old at the time.

“Nonetheless, the remarkable intelligence and ingenuity of the hornbills was a revelation. What played out increased my respect for these charismatic birds. To learn more about the hornbill’s behaviour, I filmed and photographed my local foraging flock. I found that they had grown accustomed to people and roost in the trees of a public housing estate.”