There are several common beliefs concerning edible bird’s nests. The majority of these beliefs are in fact myths. These misconceptions are confusing and misleading for the consumer. Misleading information makes buying high quality bird’s nests difficult. In light of this problem, we have prepared this page to provide clear and accurate facts about bird’s nests.
Myth 1: Caves produce better quality Birds’ Nests due to the natural environment.
Fact: Both cave and house nests are built by the same breed of Swiflet, and therefore both environments are naturally constructed. The only difference is in the choice of environment. Previously, cave nests were thought to be more valuable because of the risks involved in harvesting. Harvesters often climb into caves with no safety equipment to protect themselves from a potential fall. However, in terms of quality, a house nests is always supreme. This is because cave nests are exposed to very dirty conditions, whereas a house nest is a far cleaner environment for the bird.
Myth 2: A Red/Blood Nest is constructed by a Swiftlet that has consumed seafood.
Fact: Some time ago people believed that a red nest was created by an overworked Swiftlet that had built its nest partly with blood. Nowadays, people believe that the red nest is created by a Swiftlet that has eaten seafood or a food substance which contains a high volume of iron. Research has proved both of these beliefs to be untrue. The red nest (red blood) is not created by the Swiftlet, but by the surrounding environment.
Cave nests turn red in colour due to the mineral content and the wet surface of the cave which seeps into the nest. This polluting of the nest by cave water significantly reduces the nutrient levels of the nest. The red appearance of a house nests is achieved through the unethical dying of white nests. The harvest is deliberately delayed to let the gas from the Swiftlet’s droppings react with the nest. The gas emitted by the Swiftlet is called Ammonia. Ammonia is a compound found in fertilizer and detergent.
Long term consumption of bird’s nests which has been contaminated in this way will have adverse effects on personal health. The consumption of toxic chemicals has strong links to cancer and other major illnesses. This is the reason all bird’s nests experts advise expectant mothers and the elderly to avoid the consumption of red nests.