With the goal of saving the critically endangered Bali Starlings from extinction, Begawan initiated its Conservation Program in 1999. For more than 20 years, beside breeding the birds in captivity, the foundation has also carried out release activities, both in Nusa Penida and Sibang. After moving the Breeding and Release Centre back to Melinggih Kelod, Payangan, Gianyar in 2018, further releases were carried out.
On 5 April 2021, Begawan released a pair of Bali Starlings from a local compound in the village and proceeded with regular monitoring. Two days after the release, a local resident reported that the birds were settling in one of his fields in Banjar Bayad. The foundation staff then installed two nest boxes for the birds to provide shelter and a place to lay eggs.
Unfortunately, later in that same month, the male bird disappeared, most likely eaten by a predator (snake). It is rare when a pair of birds lays eggs, for one bird to leave the other. Soon after the egg hatched, at the earliest possible time, the female bird and her wild chick were transferred back to the Breeding Centre for the female to be paired with a new male bird.
After finding a new partner, the pair were released back into the wild at the same place the original pair had previously settled. Both remained in the fields and the field owner voluntarily monitored them and reported their activity to the foundation staff.
In March this year, the female bird disappeared. The foundation staff then took the male back to the Breeding Centre, and later, he was paired with a new female. Before releasing them back to their previous site, the staff decided to install a snake proof pole, as had been previously recommended by Ron Lilley, a snake rescuer and snake-proofing advisor in Bali, who visited the foundation in 2021 to give advice for the nest box pole in the Breeding Centre.
The pole has been installed with baffles (shaped like lampshades) positioned 75-100 cm above the ground, so that the snakes cannot climb from below. The staff has also painted the pole and greased it, minimising any protruding nuts or bolts, and making them extra slippery.
We are looking forward to the re-release of one of our productive wild pairs! (Nitya Swastika)