The City of Balanga (COB) wetlands once again teemed with migratory birds as evidenced during the annual Asian Waterbird Census conducted on January 20, 2018.
Among the birds seen were white birds known as “egrets”, long-legged birds called “black-winged stilts,” and colorful kingfishers classified as “collared” and “common”. Dainty greyish birds called “terns” were also seen hovering around and diving for food.
These water birds fly down to the tropics like the COB’s Balanga Wetland Park to escape the cold winter months in mainland while other birds continue their journey south to as far as Australia and New Zealand. Some birds start arriving as early as September to as late as November. When the harsh winter season is over, the birds fly back north to breed in the northern hemisphere. These birds may leave as early as February to as late as April.
The results of the census show that more than 13,000 birds were counted. The species with the highest number counted are Whiskered Terns with a total of 6,260 recorded.
The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) believe that the ecosystem in Balanga remains healthy as proven by the high number of migratory birds in the wetlands.
The census was conducted to promote public participation in monitoring the distribution, population and trends of water birds, and the status of wetlands in the Asian region. The success of the activity was achieved in collaboration with various stakeholders like the WBCP, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Sangguniang Barangays of Puerto Rivas-Ibaba, Puerto Rivas-Lote, Tortugas, Sibacan and Tuyo.
Reference: Michael C. Lu