Bird’s nest, is the nest of swallow. It is not an ordinary nest, but a nest made by special swallow named ‘golden swiftlets’.
Swiftlets leave their homes early in the morning and return in evening. An adult swiftlet has an average body thickness of about 4cm while its length is about 10cm and about 22cm when the wings are fully opened. These birds are smaller than the swallow that we often see. Its feather at the back is grayish brown, with a golden complexion. Its wings are long and sharp. Unlike the regular birds that can rest on electrical wires or walk on ground, it can only use its feet to hook on a vertical wall or cliff. Golden swiftlets utilize echo-location to roam in the dark and to find their original resting spots.
Swiftlets can produce eggs three times annually. Each reproduction has 1-2 eggs. Their food source is the sky while roaming. They only feed on flying insects. Besides feeding on rainwater, they will sip on lake’s water while flying on low. The birds that are usually seen resting on the electrical wires or resting unde roof, are called ‘grass swallow’. They make use of mud and grass to construct nest, so they are unable to produce edible bird nest.
Bird nest is in a shape of half moon, similar to a human ear, with diameter of 6-7 millimeter. The base is thick; wall is thin, with the weight of about 10-15 grams. Nest exterior is nicely arranged, rough interior which is similar to a mesh or web. The whole nest is white and with elasticity. It has been named as the ‘famous medicine’, ‘lavish product of the orient’.
Nest can be divided into: golden swiftlet nest, grass nest, feather nest.
Golden swiftlet nest is an edible type after labour processing Grass nest and feather nest are not those built by golden swiftlet. Grass nest has extremely low content of saliva and is almost non-edible while feather nest is the type that has not been cleaned and can only be consumed after cleaning.
The different forms of nest grading depend on the level of damage due to its harvest and transport.
Nest biscuit–loose form that has been shaped after processing/cleaning.
Nest mesh is a thin, web-like structure situated on top of the base that supports the eggs and young swiftlets. Its texture is smooth.