Netizens’ curiosities were piqued when a woman posted videos of a flock of swiftlets who taken to gather on the ledge of her home’s walls and practically called it home.
Janice Lafuente Talip sent an SOS to the Home Buddies Facebook group, a community of three million members for home decoration and improvement.
“Badly need suggestions — please help us (with) our problem,” Talip began her post in the group. “What is the most effective way to make these birds leave our house? We’ve tried a lot of remedies but they keep coming back.”
“Aside from causing so much noise (they’re not bats) especially at night, our veranda has gotten so dirty because of them,” she added as she noted the birds’ dark colors.
Several members recognized the birds as swiftlets, known locally as balinsasayaw — known for building their nests using their saliva instead of twigs and is harvested for the well-known delicacy called nido soup or bird’s nest soup.
Some called the presence of the birds “lucky” and saw a potential business opportunity. One comment read: “These balinsasayaw birds are the ones who make the nests that produce the expensive ingredient (in) Nido Soup. You may let them grow and the Chinese will come to you especially those who own a restaurant. You are very lucky to have them in your house.”
Another wrote: “These are balinsasayaws, just try to sell as many birds’ nests to restaurants, try researching on how to breed them. This would make really good bird’s nest soup. You know, whatever we can earn money from is good. If you really don’t want them, have your ceiling changed so that they don’t lay eggs.”
Others pointed out that human activity may have likely destroyed the birds’ natural habitat, and suggested building a birdhouse for them by the garden.
“Closing your entry with polyethene or a garden net will prevent them from entering until they are unable to return. Perhaps their natural habitat has been disturbed. That’s the safest way,” one said.
Another helpful suggestion said: “Try placing feeds by your backyard or near the woods. You can also provide a safe place for them. As for your veranda, try installing a mirror that will reflect the light. They will not just move away because of the light, but they will also see a reflection of a bird which will lead them to think that the area is occupied.”
“We need to consider your house’s geographical location. Maybe its original shelter got destroyed or disturbed because of human activities. As stewards of His creations, we are to coexist with these birds. You might need to rethink your choices.”
Talip told Coconuts that her family home has had the bird problem for months, sharing that they have had to clean the birds’ nests weekly and have tried all kinds of solutions.
She posted on the Home Buddies group as she and her family were running out of ideas. Amid the flurry of comments, she did find a few helpful suggestions. “We’re planning to follow (one advice who said to) add a net or barrier around the veranda, put up fake predators, or hang up reflectors.”