Orchard Road is one of the world’s most famed shopping street, but unknown to many, it’s also home to a massive flock of birds who have become a pest.
It’s an airborne threat that is tarnishing the city’s image, specifically, with its droppings splattering the entire 2.2km length of the road.
Steven Goh, the executive director of Orchard Road Business Association, is the man tackling this issue in ‘Man Vs. Bird’. Here are our takeaways.
#1 – Understanding The Avian Invasion
Singapore’s location on the equator makes it a prime refuelling stop for migratory birds. Great for bird watching and researchers, but terrible news for harried tourists.
Orchard Road, in particular, is flanked by four green patches, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Dempsey Hill, The Southern Ridges and Mount Faber, making it the go-to spot for birds who want to catch a break.
#2 – The Pecking Order Of Orchard Road’s Threat
There are four major types of bird terrorising Orchard Road, and they’ve cleverly partitioned the available space among themselves.
The highly-intelligent house crows usually perch on the higher canopies, while the glossy starlings will share the middle canopy with the mynahs. On the ground level are pigeons, the notorious scavengers.
It’s the thick foliage that attracts the birds to roost, and since cutting down the trees are not an option, Singapore has found unique ways of dealing with the problem.
#3 – Cleaning Up The Mess
Steven has explored techniques that the airport uses to ward off unwanted birds, but the netting, spikes and raptor calls are not conducive to the trees or the sheer numbers at Orchard Road.
Hence, he does the only thing he can, which is to ensure a top-notch cleaning crew. High-powered water pressure systems are used by cleaners daily. For its annual Christmas light up, designers have also employed a unique self-cleaning material that ensures the Christmas decorations stay shiny.
It’s a sign that if the birds have adapted to live with humans, humans too can learn to live with nature.
Man Vs. Birds’ is part of our newly launched channel in collaboration with Discovery Channel Asia. Spotlighting unique stories across Asian countries like Singapore and Japan, explore more fascinating documentaries here!