A Sustainable Approach to Harvesting Edible Bird’s Nests is a Win-Win For Birds and Humans

Edible bird’s nests or yan wo in Chinese, which translates to “swifts nest” is considered a delicacy among the Asian population who have harvested it for more than 400 years. It is highly prized and is one of the world’s most expensive animal products consumed by people with an average cost of $2500 (US) per kilogram. Nicknamed “the Caviar of the East” it is said to be highly nutritional and flavorful.

Edible bird’s nests are built by only three species of swifts in the swallow family. The nests are made from the saliva produced by the birds during breeding season. The nests are built inside caves where they cling to the ceilings and walls. The nests are abundant in the minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Most of the nests are harvested from limestone caves in Borneo, however, due to increasing demand for the product, man-made concrete structures are being built specifically for the nesting swiftlets.

One such company, JiaPinBirdsNest.com harvests their delicacy from their own bird’s nest house and plant in Indonesia. By doing so, they are able to meet the demand for authentic and 100% pure bird’s nests at affordable prices by eliminating the middleman. Bird’s nests are available in different grades – the higher the grade, the higher the price. Grade A – Yan Zhan is the premium choice being “meatier” it has the best flavor and appearance making it the perfect selection for corporate gifting or a special occasion such as an engagement or wedding. Grade B – Corner Bird’s Nest is triangular in shape from being built in the corner of the nesting building. It is second in bite to Grade A. Grade C – Bird’s Nest Stripes retains the striping from the cleaning process. A less premium grade but still offers a chewy texture. Grade D – Bird’s Nest Leg is popular for those seeking a firmer, harder bite and chewier texture.

In addition to its exquisite flavor, edible bird’s nest is a staple in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It has been used for medicinal purposes for more than 400 years and is believed to be especially beneficial for the skin. Other benefits are support for the immune system, strengthens the lungs, stomach and kidneys and improves digestion. It is used by the elderly to relieve chronic cough and phlegm. It can be used long-term without adverse side effects.