BALANGA City, Bataan – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in coordination with the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines and the city government of Balanga on Saturday began the census of migratory waterbirds in five birdwatching sites in the component city of Bataan.
Bird count was made in Sibacan, Lote, Tortugas, Puerto Rivas Itaas and Puerto Rivas Ibaba, seaside villages in Balanga along Manila Bay.
Terns, Plovers, Black-winged Stilt, Sandpipers and Little, Intermediate and Large Egret were among the migratory birds seen as early as 5:30 in the morning flying from mangroves and settling on dry fishponds.
A Chinese Egret was suspected to be seen for the first time in the wetlands of Balanga. “Bihirang makita ito dahil kakaunti na ang bilang sa buong mundo. Halos maliit lang ang pagkakaiba nito sa karaniwang Egret,” said WBCP founding member Amado Bajarias.
Bajarias said the Asian Census of Waterbirds is done every January in all countries in Asia to determine the population of water birds. The census began in the Philippines in 2004.
“Ang mga ibon ay indicator kung may problema sa environment tulad ng maraming basura. Bagama’t ang mga ibon ay may iba-ibang requirements, may mga ibong ayaw sa maraming basura. Kapag maraming basura, kakaunti ang mga ibon,” the WBCP member said.
Bajarias said the Philippines is the wintering area of migratory birds that leave Mainland Asia and some Mainland Russia, Mongolia and Siberia during winter and come back to their country of origin when summer begins for their breeding.
“Pinakamagandang gawin, huwag hawakan o lapitan ang mga dayong ibon para makaiwas sa bird flu,” he cautioned.
Mila Rarmirez, head of the provincial Protected Wildlife Office of DENR, said the count last January 2013 was 26,000 birds for a day. “Mas marami ang bilang na ito kesa noong 2011 at 2012,” she said.
“Nawiwili sa Balanga ang mga ibon dahil maganda panahon at maraming pagkain dito. Hindi naman nakakaperhuwisyo at nakakatulong pa sa turismo,” said David Baluyot, kagawad of Puerto Rivas Itaas.