Happy bird-day

From left: Mr Gabayoyo checking on flamingo chicks in the weaning room; feeding a three-month-old hyacinth macaw in the nursery room.

He's a nanny, a nutritionist, a matchmaker and a security officer. Mr Elden Gabayoyo, 32, is all that and more to the fledglings at the Jurong Bird Park's Breeding and Research Centre (BRC).

The Filipino, who has worked at the Bird Park for more than five years, estimated that at least 150 chicks "graduate" from the BRC each year.

The BRC opened to the public for the first time in 24 years on May 19. Previously, access to the centre was via organised tours.

The avian management officer starts his day at 7am and works till 5pm five days a week. But he is used to staying late with his charges.

Mr Gabayoyo joked: "I even have a small makeshift sofa bed if my chicks needs extra care."

His most memorable moment?

Fifty flamingo eggs hatching all at the same time in 2008. He had joined the Bird Park only a year earlier.

"Just imagine, I had 50 mouths to feed all at once," he said.

The actual amount of food is small though (it's 10 per cent the weight of the chick). But the sequence is important.

He starts with the smallest or youngest chicks.

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