hat is an edible bird nest?
Edible bird nest is a high-value nutrition supplement that is obtained from the edible bird nest swiftlet. It is also known as the white-nest swiftlet which is a small bird of the swift family which is found in South-East Asia. Edible bird's nests are one of the most expensive animal products in the world because the protein and rich nutrients in bird's nests promote good health. The edible bird nest is usually white in colour and normally, people eat edible bird nests by making soup. The most popular edible bird's nest is traditional bird's nest soup in China.
How the edible bird nest happened
Swiftlets usually build their nests on the rock walls and cave roofs of islands or beaches to avoid the dangers of animals such as monkeys, snakes, and eagles. During the daytime, they fly around the island or beach where they live to find food and return to their nests when it’s dark. January, April and August are their breeding season and male birds make nests for female birds to lay eggs. To make nests, they spit out the resin from their mouth and try to dry with their wings. The nest looks like a bowl shape and it is enough to live two baby birds and their mother. The nest is normally in white but sometimes, it mixes with red colour when male birds spit out the resin too much and blood contained in the resin. Moreover, the birds can die if someone destroys unfinished nests or the wings stick together with the nest while building.
Edible bird nest production in Myanmar
In Myanmar, edible bird nests can be found in the Myeik Archipelago, Kawthaung and Dawei, Tanintharyi, the southernmost region of Myanmar and some islands in Pathein district. Myeik Archipelago is home to the largest population of white-nest swiftlet in Myanmar and also the place of the commercial bird nests industry. There are six swiftlet species of edible bird nests in Myanmar, among them, the most productive bird nests are the white-nested Collocalia Fuciphage and the black-nested Collocalia Innominata. Edible bird nests have become one of the main industries in Myeik and traders can charge at least $1300 a viss (1.6kg) for the tiny nests. The prices are different depending on the quality and type. There are more than a thousand traders in Tanintharyi Region, only over a hundred of traders have license for official trading. The traders sell not only locally but also export to Thailand, Malaysia and China.
Swiftlets raising in Tanintharyi Region
In Tanintharyi Region, the raising of swiftlets and the production of edible bird's nests began more than two-decades ago. In order to raise the birds, people prepared buildings and created artificial bird voices inside of the building to attract birds. Male birds build the nest first and then the female birds lay eggs. In the bird's nest, the egg takes about 7 days to hatch and the young takes about 55 days to fly. Then, they leave the nest and the producers can harvest the nest. Before selling to the market, they remove sand, feathers and egg shells of the bird nests. Female birds lay 3 times a year with 2 eggs per time. Producers harvest the nest 2 or 3 times in a year. If the bird nests are harvested before that day, the young birds may die and the birds may look for a new place to build their nests.
Benefits of edible bird nest
Edible bird nests have benefits for virility, better skin and stronger elder people. It is rich in glycoprotein, collagen and amino acids, antioxidants, hormones, and various minerals that improve overall wellbeing and boost the human body's immune system. Mostly, people drink edible bird nests like soup by steaming them with a little water and a bit of sugar. It can be used as an ingredient in other dishes and desserts. In Myanmar, 2021, the edible bird nest’s market became bigger and it is more popular than before because most people believe that having a bird nest is very helpful to build the body's immune system and support in fighting against coronaviruses.