Heart of a flyway

Wood Sandpiper

Wood Sandpiper

Philippine migratory birds and the East-Asian Australasian Flyway
IF you’re not a birdwatcher, ornithologist, or a wildlife researcher, migratory birds may be one of the least known groups of birds to you in the Philippines. People wonder why suddenly there are hundreds of white long-necked birds in the rice fields, flocks of small wading birds along the coastline, and swallows swarming around, hundreds of them perching on the telephone lines leaving their droppings on roofs, buildings, and malls.

They are all migratory birds, coming all the way from Korea, China, and even Russia. And those that arrive in the Philippines might still continue to travel further south to Australia and New Zealand. Over 400 species of migratory birds travel long distances to escape the cold winter for food and for survival using the East-Asian Australasian Flyway (EAAF). The EAAF covers 22 countries and the Philippines is part of that network.

Most of these migratory species are here in the Philippines during the months of October to April and can be found in swamps, tidal flats, lakes, forests, and even in urban areas. The Philippines is situated in a very strategic location in the middle of the flyway which is very useful for the migratory birds to refuel and to regain their energy so they can continue their journey down south or back north to their breeding sites.

Unfortunately, migratory birds are often threatened by human activities, such as loss of good habitat due to overexploitation and conversion of ecosystems for development purposes, and even hunting.

As a result, 64 species of migratory birds in the EAAF are now globally threatened. The Philippines being an archipelago has a coastline of 36,289 kilometers, which is very important not only to migratory birds but to Philippine biodiversity as well.

Haribon Foundation being the Birdlife partner in the Philippines, has been monitoring the threatened migratory species here in the Philippines with the aim to protect these migratory birds and their habitat as well. Philippine’s richness in natural resources is also very important not only to these migratory birds but to us humans too. Thus, we as the higher being created by God, need to protect and conserve what was entrusted to us. Everything is interconnected in the natural world, protecting the migratory birds means protecting their habitat, and protecting their habitat means protecting our natural resources and protecting ourselves.

Learn more about our bird visitors via Haribon’s Welcome to the Birds campaigns. Email act@haribon.org.ph today.


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