The Chinese have high culinary-regard for certain bird’s nests constructed by a swallow-like bird called a Swift. The nest is made from glutinous strands of the bird’s-saliva and is considered a supreme delicacy.
The tricky part of collecting edible bird’s nests is that if collected too late there is the possibility that eggs might be damaged, and if gathered too early the nests will be of inferior quality.
Pacific Swift, Edible-nest Swiftlet and Black-nest Swiflets are the species of swift that produce edible bird’s nests in Thailand, mainly in limestone caves on islands around Krabi, Phuket, and Nakhon Si Thammarat in southern Thailand.
After the first nest disappears, the female bird will automatically build a second nest, and collectors will wait a month before harvesting the second nest. The third nest, final production for the season, is where the baby birds will grow and the nest will not be harvested for three months.
As with most everything in this part of the world, and due to the high value of the nests, corruption is rampant and sometimes the unthinkable happens, the baby birds are thrown away to harvest the valuable third nest. The sad thing is that locals get very little money out of the businesses while, concession holders and governments who levy high taxes, become rich.