One week ago received an email from a journalist requesting my time to be interviewed.
I though he will be coming to town to meet me.
However today received his call from Thailand.
It seems that he is carrying out some research about swiftlet farming industries in Thailand.
However he have a few questions to clear up his mind.
There were a number of questions he asked and I answered to the best of my knowledge.
One very important interesting question that he asked was something like this:
"Harry if you have two BH with the same internal conditions, what can you do to get more birds to any one of them?"
My answer to him is the external and internal sounds.
You need to get the latest and the best sounds inside your BH.
Old method uses one external sound and one internal sound.
However that are many BHs now are using more sounds (2 external and 3 internal as an example).
The winner will be the one with the best sounds collection and at the same time who knows how to apply them.
His second question has something to do about mangrove trees.
"Harry one BH owner I interviewed says that mangrove swamps are great insect generator. Is it true?"
My answer to him yes but there are many other types of trees that also produce a lot of insects.
These wild birds (swiftlet) need at least 5 grams of insect per day to stay healthy and a live.
The moment they flew out of their nests they will start searching for food.
I am very sure they know precisely which place generate lots on insects at which particular time of the day.
If your BH is near the mangrove these birds will know precisely what time those insects will start to fly above the tree canopy.
"Harry what do you think causes the current nest price to drop so low?"
My answer to him have something to do with China import ban.
They claimed that process nests are found to have too much nitrite.
They now imposed a very strict regulation on any nests imported into China.
However what triggered this event have something to do with some exporters wanted to sell direct into China.
All these years all bird nests in any form entered mainland China via Hong Kong.
These dealers control the flow of nests into China.
I am sure there are a lot of middle man involved in it.
Once their rice bowl are sowed with sand, they retaliate.
My personal opinion was that a raid at an outlet in mainland China started the whole collapse of swiftlet farming business.
Chinese authorities claimed that those nitrite level are dangerous to human consumption.
My main question was "How many Chinese people have died or have health problem after consuming high nitrite bird nests before?"
A good example:
It is a known fact that red colored nest harvested from Caves have closed to 700 ppm nitrite. But these red colored nests are the most expensive nests sold in China and other countries. Most Chinese medicine man will tell you that if you want to consume bird nests get the red colored nests.
I was also asked about the similarity between cave and house dwelling birds.
My answer to him was that they might be from the same Facifagus but of different species.
My opinion is based on the quality of nests that they produced.
If you boiled both nests in the same manner for 2 hours you will find that those nests from those caves will remain like a jelly. However those nests harvested from houses will be totally dissolved and you will not find any strain at all.
The saliva that they produced are not the same.
They have to be from different species but still under the Facifagus group.
"What about the birds population now days, are they still growing in numbers?"
My answer to him was something like this.
Most BH owners in Peninsular Malaysia are complaining that the number of kilogram harvested per month are getting lesser and lesser.
Those who used to harvest 10 kg a month now can only harvest 4-5 kg. More than 50% are missing in action.
My opinion is that the drop in birds population seems to be related to the Haze problem.
8 to 10 years ago we started to experience a yearly thick haze problem caused by Sumatra bush fires.
Once these haze stays longer than 3 days, many young birds are staved to death.
This resulted in mass migration of birds to other places like Vietnam and Cambodia.
In Vietnam if you start a new BH you will experience something unusual.
I have heard of cases where on the first day the number of birds entering a new BH as high as 1000 birds.
This is very rare in Peninsular Malaysia.
Well he thank me for replying all his questions.
He promised to inform me when his article will be published in the Southeast Asia Globe magazine.