A Curious Housing Boom
Jerry Redfern
Years of insurgent violence and government counter-violence have chased away thousands of people from Pattani in the South of Thailand. In spite of this, over the last several years, local entrepreneurs have constructed concrete apartment buildings and home additions all over town to house thousands of new residents. Very small residents. It turns out that Pattani is an ideal nesting location for Edible-Nest Swiftlets, whose small, cup-shaped nests of dried spittle are the key ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup and health drinks.

Results

  • A seven-story bird apartment sits among empty fields on the outskirts of Pattani. A local entrepreneur built it to attract Edible-Nest Swiftlets, whose nests are the namesake of Chinese bird-nest soup and drinks. While the area has seen business and tourism dry up due to a long-running Muslim insurgency, bird hotels are a growing industry. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. Bird apartments like this have only one multi-locked steel door, to protect both the valuable bird nests and the owner's bird-attracting secrets.
A seven-story bird apartment sits among empty fields on the outskirts of Pattani. A local entrepreneur built it to attract Edible-Nest Swiftlets, whose nests are the namesake of Chinese bird-nest soup and drinks. While the area has seen business and tourism dry up due to a long-running Muslim insurgency, bird hotels are a growing industry. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. Bird apartments like this have only one multi-locked steel door, to protect both the valuable bird nests and the owner's bird-attracting secrets.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05172.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: A seven-story bird apartment sits among empty fields on the outskirts of Pattani. A local entrepreneur built it to attract Edible-Nest Swiftlets, whose nests are the namesake of Chinese bird-nest soup and drinks. While the area has seen business and tourism dry up due to a long-running Muslim insurgency, bird hotels are a growing industry. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. Bird apartments like this have only one multi-locked steel door, to protect both the valuable bird nests and the owner's bird-attracting secrets.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • A rare view of a nesting swiftlet in the aviary above businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon's home and hardware shop in Pattani. He has added two stories to the top of his shophouse, which house a few thousand of the birds and their valuable nests. Jirasak says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. A rare view of a nesting swiftlet in the aviary above businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon's home and hardware shop in Pattani. He has added two stories to the top of his shophouse, which house a few thousand of the birds and their valuable nests. Jirasak says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05201.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: A rare view of a nesting swiftlet in the aviary above businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon's home and hardware shop in Pattani. He has added two stories to the top of his shophouse, which house a few thousand of the birds and their valuable nests. Jirasak says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • A view of swiftlet nests harvested by businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon from the aviary above his home and hardware shop in Pattani. He has added two stories to the top of his shophouse, which house a few thousand of the birds and their valuable nests. The whiter and cleaner the nest, the more valuable, so workers spend days carefully cleaning small feather and twig bits from recently collected nests. Jirasak says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. A view of swiftlet nests harvested by businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon from the aviary above his home and hardware shop in Pattani. He has added two stories to the top of his shophouse, which house a few thousand of the birds and their valuable nests. The whiter and cleaner the nest, the more valuable, so workers spend days carefully cleaning small feather and twig bits from recently collected nests. Jirasak says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05170.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: A view of swiftlet nests harvested by businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon from the aviary above his home and hardware shop in Pattani. He has added two stories to the top of his shophouse, which house a few thousand of the birds and their valuable nests. The whiter and cleaner the nest, the more valuable, so workers spend days carefully cleaning small feather and twig bits from recently collected nests. Jirasak says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • A young man locks his shop in downtown Pattani at the start of the evening curfew. Years of a bloody Muslim insurgency have brought a military crackdown and curfews, and thousands of people have fled the region and its seemingly ceaseless violence.  A few entrepreneurs have used the subsequent weak real estate market to buy up homes and land where they build nesting sites for Edible-Nest Swiftlets, whose nests are the key ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup.A young man locks his shop in downtown Pattani at the start of the evening curfew. Years of a bloody Muslim insurgency have brought a military crackdown and curfews, and thousands of people have fled the region and its seemingly ceaseless violence.  A few entrepreneurs have used the subsequent weak real estate market to buy up homes and land where they build nesting sites for Edible-Nest Swiftlets, whose nests are the key ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05204.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: A young man locks his shop in downtown Pattani at the start of the evening curfew. Years of a bloody Muslim insurgency have brought a military crackdown and curfews, and thousands of people have fled the region and its seemingly ceaseless violence. A few entrepreneurs have used the subsequent weak real estate market to buy up homes and land where they build nesting sites for Edible-Nest Swiftlets, whose nests are the key ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Hotel employees watch as tens of thousands of edible-nest swiftlets return to their underground perches beneath the C.S. Pattani Hotel in the evening. They are the hotel's most popular - and arguably most lucrative - guests. Several years ago the tiny birds began building nests in the hotel basement during its construction. What was first viewed as an annoyance was quickly recognized as a lucrative sideline - the birds' little nests are the key ingredient in bird-nest soup, popular among Chinese around the region as a health tonic. Also, as southern Thailand's Muslim insurgency continues to drive tourists and locals away, a bird nest industry has sprung up in the ensuing business vacuum.Hotel employees watch as tens of thousands of edible-nest swiftlets return to their underground perches beneath the C.S. Pattani Hotel in the evening. They are the hotel's most popular - and arguably most lucrative - guests. Several years ago the tiny birds began building nests in the hotel basement during its construction. What was first viewed as an annoyance was quickly recognized as a lucrative sideline - the birds' little nests are the key ingredient in bird-nest soup, popular among Chinese around the region as a health tonic. Also, as southern Thailand's Muslim insurgency continues to drive tourists and locals away, a bird nest industry has sprung up in the ensuing business vacuum.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05222.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 17/01/2007: Hotel employees watch as tens of thousands of edible-nest swiftlets return to their underground perches beneath the C.S. Pattani Hotel in the evening. They are the hotel's most popular - and arguably most lucrative - guests. Several years ago the tiny birds began building nests in the hotel basement during its construction. What was first viewed as an annoyance was quickly recognized as a lucrative sideline - the birds' little nests are the key ingredient in bird-nest soup, popular among Chinese around the region as a health tonic. Also, as southern Thailand's Muslim insurgency continues to drive tourists and locals away, a bird nest industry has sprung up in the ensuing business vacuum.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon poses in the bird nesting area of his home and hardware shop in Pattani. He has added two stories to the top of his shophouse, which house a few thousand Edible-Nest Swiftlets and their valuable nests. He says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality. Jirasak Jiwakanon is a rarity among bird nest entrepreneurs in that he will show off parts of his operation - though not all. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence.Businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon poses in the bird nesting area of his home and hardware shop in Pattani. He has added two stories to the top of his shophouse, which house a few thousand Edible-Nest Swiftlets and their valuable nests. He says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality. Jirasak Jiwakanon is a rarity among bird nest entrepreneurs in that he will show off parts of his operation - though not all. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05188.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: Businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon poses in the bird nesting area of his home and hardware shop in Pattani. He has added two stories to the top of his shophouse, which house a few thousand Edible-Nest Swiftlets and their valuable nests. He says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality. Jirasak Jiwakanon is a rarity among bird nest entrepreneurs in that he will show off parts of his operation - though not all. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon and his wife pose in front of their home and hardware shop in Pattani. He has added two stories to the top of his shophouse, which house a few thousand Edible-Nest Swiftlets and their valuable nests. He says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. Businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon and his wife pose in front of their home and hardware shop in Pattani. He has added two stories to the top of his shophouse, which house a few thousand Edible-Nest Swiftlets and their valuable nests. He says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05173.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: Businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon and his wife pose in front of their home and hardware shop in Pattani. He has added two stories to the top of his shophouse, which house a few thousand Edible-Nest Swiftlets and their valuable nests. He says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Businessman Nitiphan Ampaijit examines edible bird nests recently harvested from above his optical shop in Pattani. He moved his grandparents out of the apartment above his shop house when he found the valuable Edible-Nest Swiftlets nesting there. Now, the money he makes from bird nests more than makes up for the money he has to pay for his grandparents' rent in a nearby apartment. He says he can make about 100,000 baht (about $3100 USD) every three or four months from bird nests. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. Businessman Nitiphan Ampaijit examines edible bird nests recently harvested from above his optical shop in Pattani. He moved his grandparents out of the apartment above his shop house when he found the valuable Edible-Nest Swiftlets nesting there. Now, the money he makes from bird nests more than makes up for the money he has to pay for his grandparents' rent in a nearby apartment. He says he can make about 100,000 baht (about $3100 USD) every three or four months from bird nests. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05175.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: Businessman Nitiphan Ampaijit examines edible bird nests recently harvested from above his optical shop in Pattani. He moved his grandparents out of the apartment above his shop house when he found the valuable Edible-Nest Swiftlets nesting there. Now, the money he makes from bird nests more than makes up for the money he has to pay for his grandparents' rent in a nearby apartment. He says he can make about 100,000 baht (about $3100 USD) every three or four months from bird nests. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Bird-nest drink for sale at a shop in Pattani town. The town is famous for its bird nest apartment buildings, home to thousands of Edible-nest Swiftlets, whose nests are treasured across the region for use in bird-nest soup and drinks. Also, while a continuing Muslim insurgency in the area has chased away tourists and locals alike, those who remain have begun a lucrative new business housing the money-making birds in converted homes throughout the city. Bird-nest drink for sale at a shop in Pattani town. The town is famous for its bird nest apartment buildings, home to thousands of Edible-nest Swiftlets, whose nests are treasured across the region for use in bird-nest soup and drinks. Also, while a continuing Muslim insurgency in the area has chased away tourists and locals alike, those who remain have begun a lucrative new business housing the money-making birds in converted homes throughout the city.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05168.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: Bird-nest drink for sale at a shop in Pattani town. The town is famous for its bird nest apartment buildings, home to thousands of Edible-nest Swiftlets, whose nests are treasured across the region for use in bird-nest soup and drinks. Also, while a continuing Muslim insurgency in the area has chased away tourists and locals alike, those who remain have begun a lucrative new business housing the money-making birds in converted homes throughout the city.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Sayan Madratoh, General Manager of the C.S. Pattani Hotel, presents a dessert made of bird nests. The nests were collected from the hotel basement. While they are best known as the prime ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup, Sayan Madratoh has developed a set of Thai-style desserts based on the tiny nests. The first of tens of thousands of edible-nest Swiftlets roosted in the basement of the hotel when it was still under construction several years ago. The value of the nests quickly convinced the owners to let the birds stay. It was doubly fortuitous as a Muslim insurgency in the area soon devastated the local economy, and bird nests have been a safe way to make money amid the violence. In fact, the hotel owners say they would shut down the place for lack of business if it weren't for the birds. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. Sayan Madratoh, General Manager of the C.S. Pattani Hotel, presents a dessert made of bird nests. The nests were collected from the hotel basement. While they are best known as the prime ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup, Sayan Madratoh has developed a set of Thai-style desserts based on the tiny nests. The first of tens of thousands of edible-nest Swiftlets roosted in the basement of the hotel when it was still under construction several years ago. The value of the nests quickly convinced the owners to let the birds stay. It was doubly fortuitous as a Muslim insurgency in the area soon devastated the local economy, and bird nests have been a safe way to make money amid the violence. In fact, the hotel owners say they would shut down the place for lack of business if it weren't for the birds. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05177.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: Sayan Madratoh, General Manager of the C.S. Pattani Hotel, presents a dessert made of bird nests. The nests were collected from the hotel basement. While they are best known as the prime ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup, Sayan Madratoh has developed a set of Thai-style desserts based on the tiny nests. The first of tens of thousands of edible-nest Swiftlets roosted in the basement of the hotel when it was still under construction several years ago. The value of the nests quickly convinced the owners to let the birds stay. It was doubly fortuitous as a Muslim insurgency in the area soon devastated the local economy, and bird nests have been a safe way to make money amid the violence. In fact, the hotel owners say they would shut down the place for lack of business if it weren't for the birds. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • A worker cleans and plucks bird feathers from recently collected swiftlet nests. Businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon created the bird nesting area atop his home and hardware shop in Pattani, which house a few thousand Edible-Nest Swiftlets and their valuable nests. He says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality.
Jirasak Jiwakanon is a rarity among bird nest entrepreneurs in that he will show off parts of his operation - though not all. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence.A worker cleans and plucks bird feathers from recently collected swiftlet nests. Businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon created the bird nesting area atop his home and hardware shop in Pattani, which house a few thousand Edible-Nest Swiftlets and their valuable nests. He says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality.
Jirasak Jiwakanon is a rarity among bird nest entrepreneurs in that he will show off parts of his operation - though not all. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05210.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: A worker cleans and plucks bird feathers from recently collected swiftlet nests. Businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon created the bird nesting area atop his home and hardware shop in Pattani, which house a few thousand Edible-Nest Swiftlets and their valuable nests. He says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality. Jirasak Jiwakanon is a rarity among bird nest entrepreneurs in that he will show off parts of his operation - though not all. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • A worker cleans and plucks bird feathers from recently collected swiftlet nests. Businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon created the bird nesting area atop his home and hardware shop in Pattani, which house a few thousand Edible-Nest Swiftlets and their valuable nests. He says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality.
Jirasak Jiwakanon is a rarity among bird nest entrepreneurs in that he will show off parts of his operation - though not all. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence.A worker cleans and plucks bird feathers from recently collected swiftlet nests. Businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon created the bird nesting area atop his home and hardware shop in Pattani, which house a few thousand Edible-Nest Swiftlets and their valuable nests. He says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality.
Jirasak Jiwakanon is a rarity among bird nest entrepreneurs in that he will show off parts of his operation - though not all. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05211.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: A worker cleans and plucks bird feathers from recently collected swiftlet nests. Businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon created the bird nesting area atop his home and hardware shop in Pattani, which house a few thousand Edible-Nest Swiftlets and their valuable nests. He says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality. Jirasak Jiwakanon is a rarity among bird nest entrepreneurs in that he will show off parts of his operation - though not all. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Sayan Madratoh, General Manager of the C.S. Pattani Hotel, uses tweezers to clean feather bits from soaked, gelatinous bird nests, to prepare a dessert. The nests were collected from the hotel basement. While they are best known as the prime ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup, Sayan Madratoh has developed a set of Thai-style desserts based on the tiny nests. The first of tens of thousands of edible-nest Swiftlets roosted in the basement of the hotel when it was still under construction several years ago. The value of the nests quickly convinced the owners to let the birds stay. It was doubly fortuitous as a Muslim insurgency in the area soon devastated the local economy, and bird nests have been a safe way to make money amid the violence. In fact, the hotel owners say they would shut down the place for lack of business if it weren't for the birds. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. Sayan Madratoh, General Manager of the C.S. Pattani Hotel, uses tweezers to clean feather bits from soaked, gelatinous bird nests, to prepare a dessert. The nests were collected from the hotel basement. While they are best known as the prime ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup, Sayan Madratoh has developed a set of Thai-style desserts based on the tiny nests. The first of tens of thousands of edible-nest Swiftlets roosted in the basement of the hotel when it was still under construction several years ago. The value of the nests quickly convinced the owners to let the birds stay. It was doubly fortuitous as a Muslim insurgency in the area soon devastated the local economy, and bird nests have been a safe way to make money amid the violence. In fact, the hotel owners say they would shut down the place for lack of business if it weren't for the birds. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05178.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: Sayan Madratoh, General Manager of the C.S. Pattani Hotel, uses tweezers to clean feather bits from soaked, gelatinous bird nests, to prepare a dessert. The nests were collected from the hotel basement. While they are best known as the prime ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup, Sayan Madratoh has developed a set of Thai-style desserts based on the tiny nests. The first of tens of thousands of edible-nest Swiftlets roosted in the basement of the hotel when it was still under construction several years ago. The value of the nests quickly convinced the owners to let the birds stay. It was doubly fortuitous as a Muslim insurgency in the area soon devastated the local economy, and bird nests have been a safe way to make money amid the violence. In fact, the hotel owners say they would shut down the place for lack of business if it weren't for the birds. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon shows off a tray of recently collected bird nests, gathered in the specially built two-floor bird apartment area atop his home and hardware shop in Pattani. He estimates a few thousand Edible-Nest Swiftlets live there, slowly building their valuable nests. He says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality. Jirasak Jiwakanon is a rarity among bird nest entrepreneurs in that he will show off parts of his operation - though not all. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence.Businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon shows off a tray of recently collected bird nests, gathered in the specially built two-floor bird apartment area atop his home and hardware shop in Pattani. He estimates a few thousand Edible-Nest Swiftlets live there, slowly building their valuable nests. He says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality. Jirasak Jiwakanon is a rarity among bird nest entrepreneurs in that he will show off parts of his operation - though not all. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05198.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: Businessman Jirasak Jiwakanon shows off a tray of recently collected bird nests, gathered in the specially built two-floor bird apartment area atop his home and hardware shop in Pattani. He estimates a few thousand Edible-Nest Swiftlets live there, slowly building their valuable nests. He says he can collect about a kilogram of nests a month, worth $1300 - $1700, depending upon quality. Jirasak Jiwakanon is a rarity among bird nest entrepreneurs in that he will show off parts of his operation - though not all. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Sayan Madratoh, General Manager of the C.S. Pattani Hotel, presents cleaned and soaked bird nests to be used in a dessert. The nests were collected from the hotel basement. While they are best known as the prime ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup, Sayan Madratoh has developed a set of Thai-style desserts based on the tiny nests. The first of tens of thousands of edible-nest Swiftlets roosted in the basement of the hotel when it was still under construction several years ago. The value of the nests quickly convinced the owners to let the birds stay. It was doubly fortuitous as a Muslim insurgency in the area soon devastated the local economy, and bird nests have been a safe way to make money amid the violence. In fact, the hotel owners say they would shut down the place for lack of business if it weren't for the birds. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. Sayan Madratoh, General Manager of the C.S. Pattani Hotel, presents cleaned and soaked bird nests to be used in a dessert. The nests were collected from the hotel basement. While they are best known as the prime ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup, Sayan Madratoh has developed a set of Thai-style desserts based on the tiny nests. The first of tens of thousands of edible-nest Swiftlets roosted in the basement of the hotel when it was still under construction several years ago. The value of the nests quickly convinced the owners to let the birds stay. It was doubly fortuitous as a Muslim insurgency in the area soon devastated the local economy, and bird nests have been a safe way to make money amid the violence. In fact, the hotel owners say they would shut down the place for lack of business if it weren't for the birds. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05176.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: Sayan Madratoh, General Manager of the C.S. Pattani Hotel, presents cleaned and soaked bird nests to be used in a dessert. The nests were collected from the hotel basement. While they are best known as the prime ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup, Sayan Madratoh has developed a set of Thai-style desserts based on the tiny nests. The first of tens of thousands of edible-nest Swiftlets roosted in the basement of the hotel when it was still under construction several years ago. The value of the nests quickly convinced the owners to let the birds stay. It was doubly fortuitous as a Muslim insurgency in the area soon devastated the local economy, and bird nests have been a safe way to make money amid the violence. In fact, the hotel owners say they would shut down the place for lack of business if it weren't for the birds. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Sayan Madratoh, General Manager of the C.S. Pattani Hotel, created this Thai-styled dessert from sugared and softened bird nests. While they are best known as the prime ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup, Sayan Madratoh has developed a set of Thai-style desserts based on the tiny nests. Each dessert uses one or two nests, while traditional Chinese-style bird-nest soup can require as many as 130. The first of tens of thousands of swiftlets nested in the basement of the hotel when it was still under construction several years ago. The value of the nests quickly convinced the owners to let the birds stay. It was doubly fortuitous as a Muslim insurgency in the area soon devastated the local economy, and bird nests have been a safe way to make money amid the violence. In fact, the hotel owners say they would shut down the place for lack of business if it weren't for the birds. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. Sayan Madratoh, General Manager of the C.S. Pattani Hotel, created this Thai-styled dessert from sugared and softened bird nests. While they are best known as the prime ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup, Sayan Madratoh has developed a set of Thai-style desserts based on the tiny nests. Each dessert uses one or two nests, while traditional Chinese-style bird-nest soup can require as many as 130. The first of tens of thousands of swiftlets nested in the basement of the hotel when it was still under construction several years ago. The value of the nests quickly convinced the owners to let the birds stay. It was doubly fortuitous as a Muslim insurgency in the area soon devastated the local economy, and bird nests have been a safe way to make money amid the violence. In fact, the hotel owners say they would shut down the place for lack of business if it weren't for the birds. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05199.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: Sayan Madratoh, General Manager of the C.S. Pattani Hotel, created this Thai-styled dessert from sugared and softened bird nests. While they are best known as the prime ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup, Sayan Madratoh has developed a set of Thai-style desserts based on the tiny nests. Each dessert uses one or two nests, while traditional Chinese-style bird-nest soup can require as many as 130. The first of tens of thousands of swiftlets nested in the basement of the hotel when it was still under construction several years ago. The value of the nests quickly convinced the owners to let the birds stay. It was doubly fortuitous as a Muslim insurgency in the area soon devastated the local economy, and bird nests have been a safe way to make money amid the violence. In fact, the hotel owners say they would shut down the place for lack of business if it weren't for the birds. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Jamnean Moree, Head Chef at the C.S. Pattani Hotel, displays the myriad ingredients used to make traditional Chinese-style bird-nest soup. The hotel has a special reputation as home to tens of thousands of edible-nest swiftlets, which live in the basement. Their nests, used in bird-nest soup, are a lucrative sideline for the hotel. But even at this hotel, famous for its nests, the soup must be ordered at least a month in advance - and preferably two or three. It takes as many as 130 nests to make traditional bird-nest soup, and the hotel's monthly harvest is pre-sold to buyers across the country and region.Jamnean Moree, Head Chef at the C.S. Pattani Hotel, displays the myriad ingredients used to make traditional Chinese-style bird-nest soup. The hotel has a special reputation as home to tens of thousands of edible-nest swiftlets, which live in the basement. Their nests, used in bird-nest soup, are a lucrative sideline for the hotel. But even at this hotel, famous for its nests, the soup must be ordered at least a month in advance - and preferably two or three. It takes as many as 130 nests to make traditional bird-nest soup, and the hotel's monthly harvest is pre-sold to buyers across the country and region.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05167.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: Jamnean Moree, Head Chef at the C.S. Pattani Hotel, displays the myriad ingredients used to make traditional Chinese-style bird-nest soup. The hotel has a special reputation as home to tens of thousands of edible-nest swiftlets, which live in the basement. Their nests, used in bird-nest soup, are a lucrative sideline for the hotel. But even at this hotel, famous for its nests, the soup must be ordered at least a month in advance - and preferably two or three. It takes as many as 130 nests to make traditional bird-nest soup, and the hotel's monthly harvest is pre-sold to buyers across the country and region.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • A billboard with a sign that reads "Picture collection of the dead in 2005" hangs on the side of a government building in the middle of Pattani. Years of a bloody Muslim insurgency have brought a military crackdown and curfews, and thousands of people have fled the region and its seemingly ceaseless violence. Many of the people in the photos were killed in the insurgency. A few entrepreneurs have used the subsequent weak real estate market to buy up homes and land where they build nesting sites for Edible-Nest Swiftlets, whose nests are the key ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup.A billboard with a sign that reads "Picture collection of the dead in 2005" hangs on the side of a government building in the middle of Pattani. Years of a bloody Muslim insurgency have brought a military crackdown and curfews, and thousands of people have fled the region and its seemingly ceaseless violence. Many of the people in the photos were killed in the insurgency. A few entrepreneurs have used the subsequent weak real estate market to buy up homes and land where they build nesting sites for Edible-Nest Swiftlets, whose nests are the key ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05180.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: A billboard with a sign that reads "Picture collection of the dead in 2005" hangs on the side of a government building in the middle of Pattani. Years of a bloody Muslim insurgency have brought a military crackdown and curfews, and thousands of people have fled the region and its seemingly ceaseless violence. Many of the people in the photos were killed in the insurgency. A few entrepreneurs have used the subsequent weak real estate market to buy up homes and land where they build nesting sites for Edible-Nest Swiftlets, whose nests are the key ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • View of a doorway leading into the main prayer hall of the Krue Se Mosque, focal point of a long-running Muslim insurgency in Southern Thailand. More than 3000 people have been killed in the ongoing violence, which has also brought most business to a standstill and scared thousands more out of their homes and the region.View of a doorway leading into the main prayer hall of the Krue Se Mosque, focal point of a long-running Muslim insurgency in Southern Thailand. More than 3000 people have been killed in the ongoing violence, which has also brought most business to a standstill and scared thousands more out of their homes and the region.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05192.jpg
      Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: View of a doorway leading into the main prayer hall of the Krue Se Mosque, focal point of a long-running Muslim insurgency in Southern Thailand. More than 3000 people have been killed in the ongoing violence, which has also brought most business to a standstill and scared thousands more out of their homes and the region.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Two teenage girls walk through an evening market near the Krue Se Mosque, focal point of a long-running Muslim insurgency in Southern Thailand. More than 3000 people have been killed in the ongoing violence, which has also brought most business to a standstill and scared thousands more out of their homes and the region.Two teenage girls walk through an evening market near the Krue Se Mosque, focal point of a long-running Muslim insurgency in Southern Thailand. More than 3000 people have been killed in the ongoing violence, which has also brought most business to a standstill and scared thousands more out of their homes and the region.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05207.jpg
      Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: Two teenage girls walk through an evening market near the Krue Se Mosque, focal point of a long-running Muslim insurgency in Southern Thailand. More than 3000 people have been killed in the ongoing violence, which has also brought most business to a standstill and scared thousands more out of their homes and the region.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Rohiyoh Awaekuejeh works in the backroom of a pharmacy belonging to Dr. Pongsak Jongjirasiri, cleaning feather and twig bits from bird nests collected by her employer in his upstairs aviary. While Muslims generally won't eat food made from bird nests - they consider it Haraam as it is made essentially of animal spit - they do take jobs like this, cleaning the nests. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. 
Rohiyoh Awaekuejeh works in the backroom of a pharmacy belonging to Dr. Pongsak Jongjirasiri, cleaning feather and twig bits from bird nests collected by her employer in his upstairs aviary. While Muslims generally won't eat food made from bird nests - they consider it Haraam as it is made essentially of animal spit - they do take jobs like this, cleaning the nests. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05208.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: Rohiyoh Awaekuejeh works in the backroom of a pharmacy belonging to Dr. Pongsak Jongjirasiri, cleaning feather and twig bits from bird nests collected by her employer in his upstairs aviary. While Muslims generally won't eat food made from bird nests - they consider it Haraam as it is made essentially of animal spit - they do take jobs like this, cleaning the nests. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • Tens of thousands of edible-nest swiftlets return to their underground perches beneath the C.S. Pattani Hotel in the evening. They are the hotel's most popular - and arguably most lucrative - guests. Several years ago the tiny birds began building nests in the hotel basement during its construction. What was first viewed as an annoyance was quickly recognized as a lucrative sideline - the birds' little nests are the key ingredient in bird-nest soup, popular among Chinese around the region as a health tonic. Also, as southern Thailand's Muslim insurgency continues to drive tourists and locals away, a bird nest industry has sprung up in the ensuing business vacuum.Tens of thousands of edible-nest swiftlets return to their underground perches beneath the C.S. Pattani Hotel in the evening. They are the hotel's most popular - and arguably most lucrative - guests. Several years ago the tiny birds began building nests in the hotel basement during its construction. What was first viewed as an annoyance was quickly recognized as a lucrative sideline - the birds' little nests are the key ingredient in bird-nest soup, popular among Chinese around the region as a health tonic. Also, as southern Thailand's Muslim insurgency continues to drive tourists and locals away, a bird nest industry has sprung up in the ensuing business vacuum.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05221.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: Tens of thousands of edible-nest swiftlets return to their underground perches beneath the C.S. Pattani Hotel in the evening. They are the hotel's most popular - and arguably most lucrative - guests. Several years ago the tiny birds began building nests in the hotel basement during its construction. What was first viewed as an annoyance was quickly recognized as a lucrative sideline - the birds' little nests are the key ingredient in bird-nest soup, popular among Chinese around the region as a health tonic. Also, as southern Thailand's Muslim insurgency continues to drive tourists and locals away, a bird nest industry has sprung up in the ensuing business vacuum.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • A Thai man takes a break from watching a soccer match to watch as swiftlets return to the attic of the building he is guarding from bird nest thieves. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has killed thousands, devastated business and caused thousands more to flee the area. In this, Edible-Nest Swiftlets have become a lucrative business, as locals try to entice the tiny birds to nest and create the key ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. A Thai man takes a break from watching a soccer match to watch as swiftlets return to the attic of the building he is guarding from bird nest thieves. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has killed thousands, devastated business and caused thousands more to flee the area. In this, Edible-Nest Swiftlets have become a lucrative business, as locals try to entice the tiny birds to nest and create the key ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05189.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: A Thai man takes a break from watching a soccer match to watch as swiftlets return to the attic of the building he is guarding from bird nest thieves. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has killed thousands, devastated business and caused thousands more to flee the area. In this, Edible-Nest Swiftlets have become a lucrative business, as locals try to entice the tiny birds to nest and create the key ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern
  • A Thai man watches as swiftlets return to the attic of the building he is guarding from bird nest thieves. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has killed thousands, devastated business and caused thousands more to flee the area. In this, Edible-Nest Swiftlets have become a lucrative business, as locals try to entice the tiny birds to nest and create the key ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence.A Thai man watches as swiftlets return to the attic of the building he is guarding from bird nest thieves. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has killed thousands, devastated business and caused thousands more to flee the area. In this, Edible-Nest Swiftlets have become a lucrative business, as locals try to entice the tiny birds to nest and create the key ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence.
    • Add to lightbox
    • Contact the contributor about this file
    • jre05203.jpg
      Pattani, Pattani, Thailand - 18/01/2007: A Thai man watches as swiftlets return to the attic of the building he is guarding from bird nest thieves. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has killed thousands, devastated business and caused thousands more to flee the area. In this, Edible-Nest Swiftlets have become a lucrative business, as locals try to entice the tiny birds to nest and create the key ingredient in Chinese bird-nest soup. As no one has figured out the perfect way to attract nesting swiftlets, bird nest landlords tend to be a secretive lot, treating their nesting spaces as trade secrets. There are theories about room size, nesting beams, humidity and even music, which few will talk about, much less share. A long-running Muslim insurgency in the area has devastated the local economy, and bird nests have recently arisen as a safe way to make money amid the violence.
      Credit: Jerry Redfern

 

You must be signed in to use this functionality.
Click here to register.