Migratory bird count in Bataan wetlands drops

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BALANGA City, Bataan: The Asian waterbird census last Saturday spotted and counted 15,075 migratory birds in one day at wetlands in four seaside villages of this city or nearly 50 percent lower than last year’s number.

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Census takers were composed of representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP).

Cristine Cingco, WBCP secretary, said the number was almost one-half lower than last year’s count of 29,384 waterbirds.

According to her, there were reasons for the drop–not all the migratory birds have arrived, it was very windy, only a few fishponds were dry and the tide was high.

Cingco said the Saturday census still came up with a good number, considering that the counts in Candaba, Pampanga, and other birdwatching sites were much lower.

Different groups took census of the birds in Sibacan, Puerto Rivas Ibaba and Itaas and Tortugas, seaside villages of Balanga City where fish are dried and turned into tuyo.

City administrator Rudy de Mesa said Mayor Francis Garcia was grateful for the concern for the environment of DENR and WBCP.

“Mayor Francis is also thankful for the villagers and visitors for not harming the birds and cooperating with the city in its drive to protect the environment,” de Mesa added.

There were 34 bird species spotted in Balanga but egrets, terns and plovers were the most seen in the city’s wetlands.

Migratory birds from Europe and mainland Asia escape the freezing weather and fly annually to Bataan to feed in the last week of September and start to leave for their countries of origin in the last week of March.

Ernie B. Esconde

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