Another interesting mission Siva set me and Danliang on today was to collect bird specimens. He was informed of a donor who decided to donate her uncle's collection. We went along with Mr Yeo. It was a rickety ride in a mini-lorry to Bukit Batok. We were pretty much clueless about where block 227 was, but three brains and 6 eyes set things right.
Beautiful aren't they?
While waiting for the donor to arrive, we pried into Mr Yeo's life. Hee.. He's been in the museum so long, he's seen Prof Ng come as a student and rise as the new director! We discovered museum life changed when Prof Ng came. More specimens were collected and preserved. Before that, it was pretty much maintenace. Mr. Yeo's been thought of as a shy man, but I think it's delightful talking to him once he gets going. =)
Back to the collection, the birds were just.. Magnificent. That'd be the only befitting word to describe them. We had no idea what they would look like and were awed by it. The uncle was cold towards us initially. But he warmed up a little after seeing the interest we had for his collection.
He told us the sea eagle and the hawk was shot dead accidentally while he and his brother went to Bukit Timah Hill to shoot flying foxes. That was in the 60's and they used a shotgun. Can't imagine people having shotguns in Singapore just 40 years ago. Anyway, flying foxes are noctural so the brothers hunted at night and mistaken the eagle and hawk for their target. The last mountain eagle was reared as an eaglet till it it was of age. They taxidermised all of them in some shop in Katong which can't be found now.
Donor's brother with his collection!
Bringing back the birds with pride!
There should be more to it but it'll only be discovered after the email interview takes place. Anyway it was enough to know that these beautiful specimens will grace our museum. Currently, they stand in level one waiting to get dust off their backs and feathers. I guess that'd be another job for us interns in time to come.
In case you're interested to sieve through more photos, click here!