Catching sight of a rare oriental pied hornbill may be a cause for excitement for some, but for one family in Pasir Ris, it was a crappy experience — literally.
Taking to Facebook to share a riveting blow-by-blow of two hornbills' 90-minute visit to his home on Thursday (Dec 17), Ho Xiang Tian did not mince his words.
In a nutshell, "they sh*t all over the place", Ho wrote.
It was raining when the two birds flew into the 10th storey flat via the door, he recounted.
"It was such a bizarre and unexpected sight that I froze for a moment while my mind attempted to process what happened."
Despite various attempts to shoo the birds away, including brandishing a bamboo pole and opening all their windows, the birds were unflappable.
Ho even tried texting the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Singapore). Alas, the wildlife rescue group was too swamped to assist them, he said.
After exploring various locations around the house and leaving "gifts" for their hapless hosts, the birds finally took off out the window.
But the Ho family's ordeal was not over.
"We spent the evening cleaning up, but I think a tinge of s*** smell still hangs over the living room."
It wasn't the family's first encounter with the birds, Ho noted. They had actually spotted a hornbill perching on one of their bamboo poles outside their window "a few months ago".
"Why did it come in? We'll never know, unless a hornbill whisperer can tell us.
"My parents suspect it has to do with what is happening across the road, where a huge swath of forest has been cut down for [Build-To-Order flats]."
Although hornbills are typically found in moist lowland forests, it is "not unusual" to see them in urban environments, Dr Lena Chan, the senior director of the National Parks Board's (NParks) International Biodiversity Conservation Division, told the Straits Times in 2017.
Members of the public who encounter hornbills should keep a safe distance and refrain from feeding them, she added.
Just weeks ago, NParks said it was investigating a man who was caught feeding bananas to a pair of hornbills at Loyang Way Food Village.
"One of the main reasons why wildlife approach humans is due to feeding," How Choon Beng, director of wildlife management at NParks had said.
As a result of feeding, wild animals may exhibit aggressive behaviour towards humans. They may also visit urban areas in search of human sources of food, How cautioned.