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A colourful riot of feathers and symphony of bird song

Located at Block 151 Serangoon North Ave 2 is a bird-hanging corner, next to a coffeeshop where residents gather in the morning and chit-chat. A bird-singing competition is held every couple of months for birds like thrush, shama, and merbak jambul.
Ms Grace Lee, 31, a pet groomer, takes her amazon parrots to the bird corner in modified backpack carriers designed for small animals such as cats. A perch is adapted into the carrier for the parrots to stand on. Parrot owners gather every Sunday at
All eyes and ears on the thrushes at a bird-singing competition held in Serangoon North in June. The birds are judged on their volume and variety of notes, their display when they sing and how long their vocals last. Thrush, called "huamei" in Mandarin, which means "painted eyebrows", are popular songbirds because of their attractive singing voice. Competitions are also held for other songbirds such as the shama, merbak jambul and mata puteh.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Ms Grace Lee, 31, a pet groomer, takes her amazon parrots to the bird corner in modified backpack carriers designed for small animals such as cats. A perch is adapted into the carrier for the parrots to stand on. Parrot owners gather every Sunday at
Parrot owners gather every Sunday at the bird corner near a bird shop in Serangoon North. The owners place their birds on perches there, give them a quick shower and let them dry under the morning sun. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Ms Grace Lee, 31, a pet groomer, takes her amazon parrots to the bird corner in modified backpack carriers designed for small animals such as cats. A perch is adapted into the carrier for the parrots to stand on. Parrot owners gather every Sunday at
A yellow-crowned amazon parrot and a rainbow lorikeet sharing a perch at the bird corner. Owners take their parrots there to socialise and make friends. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Ms Grace Lee, 31, a pet groomer, takes her amazon parrots to the bird corner in modified backpack carriers designed for small animals such as cats. A perch is adapted into the carrier for the parrots to stand on. Parrot owners gather every Sunday at
Ms Grace Lee, 31, a pet groomer, takes her amazon parrots to the bird corner in modified backpack carriers designed for small animals such as cats. A perch is adapted into the carrier for the parrots to stand on.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Ms Grace Lee, 31, a pet groomer, takes her amazon parrots to the bird corner in modified backpack carriers designed for small animals such as cats. A perch is adapted into the carrier for the parrots to stand on. Parrot owners gather every Sunday at
Mr Elvis Pereira, 47, a safety officer, cradling his blue-and-gold macaw at the bird corner. While the birds get a bit of sun, their owners also make new friends. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Every step taken on the overhead bridge approaching Block 154 Serangoon North Avenue 1 is a step closer to an orchestra of chirps, twitters and squawks that rises over the din of traffic humming beneath.

It is the entrancing sound of parrots - lovebirds, conures, caiques, cockatoos and macaws - with feathers in all hues of the rainbow.

Ask nicely and some of the birds may even speak to you.

A corner area near a bird shop attracts bird owners every Sunday.

They bring their feathered pets and place them on perches under the sun while they socialise with like-minded enthusiasts.

Teacher Amerlia Ong, who lives nearby, bought her first parrot at a shop there four years ago after visiting every day during her lunch break.

"One of the Eclectus parrots caught my eye. I went home to think about it and the next day, I came to buy it and I have been a bird lover ever since," she says.

Ms Ong, 51, now has nine parrots and is one of the regulars there on Sundays.

"The people here are very friendly. We share our experiences of rearing the birds and which avian vet to go to if a bird falls sick."

The owners of the many parrots on display often introduce their birds to curious passers-by, as well as children.

Petshop owner Chua Kah Soon, 56, says: "Most residents here, whether they are bird lovers or animal lovers, know this place. During the weekends, they spend their time here with their pets and family, and also make new friends.

 

"They don't just gather here but also at the songbird corner nearby."

The songbird corner is a stone's throw away, next to a coffee shop where residents gather in the morning to chitchat.

A bird-singing competition is held in the area every couple of months for birds like the thrush, shama, merbak jambul and mata puteh, attracting bird owners from across Singapore.

The area also has many stores selling small animals such as hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and chinchillas, as well as aquarium fish and pet supplies. It also has veterinary clinics and pet-grooming shops.

"You can't find this anywhere else in Singapore," says Mr Chua.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2019, with the headline 'A colourful riot of feathers and symphony of bird song'. Print Edition | Subscribe