Rare species of birds and butterflies flourishing in heartland and urban parks

NParks BioBlitz and Community in Nature Schools' Day Out at Kent Ridge Park.
NParks BioBlitz and Community in Nature Schools' Day Out at Kent Ridge Park. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
So far, three garden bird watching sessions, two butterfly watches and three BioBlitzes have been carried out.
So far, three garden bird watching sessions, two butterfly watches and three BioBlitzes have been carried out.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
BioBlitzes involve participants spending either 12 or 24 hours documenting biodiversity in an area.
BioBlitzes involve participants spending either 12 or 24 hours documenting biodiversity in an area.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Your neighbourhood park could be home to rare species of birds, such as the blue-crowned hanging parrot, spotted wood owl and the endangered white-rumped shama. 

Of the 152 bird species spotted by NParks' "citizen scientists" during three garden bird watching sessions over the past two years, 110 of them were found in urban green pockets, such as Yishun Park, Punggol Park and Choa Chu Kang Park. 

These findings from NParks' Community in Nature Biodiversity Watch programmes, which were first launched in April 2015, were shared by Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee on Saturday morning at an event at Kent Ridge Park (March 25). 

The programme has grown from 400 volunteers to 1,000. So far, three garden bird watching sessions, two butterfly watches and three BioBlitzes have been carried out.

BioBlitzes involve participants spending either 12 or 24 hours documenting biodiversity in an area. 

Citizen scientists also spotted 77 species of butterflies in 45 parks. These are among the 324 species of butterflies that call Singapore home. 

The data the citizen scientists have gathered will help NParks to monitor biodiversity populations and habitats, and develop site management strategies to conserve biodiversity. 

Mr Lee said that to continue to be a "city in a garden", the country needs "community stewardship". "We need everyone to be custodians and stewards of the natural heritage we have been blessed with." 

Mr Lee also announced Singapore's plans to roll out a Biodiversity Week in May, as well as a new dragonfly watch programme.