BALANGA CITY – Feathered tourists from cold countries are in this component city once again, and they are the centerpiece of the upcoming 2018 Asian Waterbird Census (AWC).
Tourism, environment and bird watchers will once again gather in in this city for the census slated on the early morning of January 20 at the city’s bird villages: Tortugas, Sibacan, Puerto Rivas and Tuyo.
City tourism officer Lolit Del Rosario told newsmen the migratory birds from winter countries fly to parts of the Philippines to seek shelter during the September-February stretch.
AWC at the Balanga Wetlands in Bataan takes place every 2nd and 3rd week of January led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines assist the DENR in certain sites in Central Luzon such as the Candaba Marsh (Pampanga) and Balanga Wetlands (Bataan).
A record-high of close to 30,000 birds were recorded in Balanga City in 2016.
Wetlands International co-ordinates the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC). The AWC runs parallel to other international census of waterbirds in Africa, Europe and Neotropics under the umbrella of the International Waterbird Census (IWC).
The AWC is an annual event and takes place once a year, during the second and third weeks of January. The census was initiated in 1987 in the Indian subcontinent, and has grown rapidly to cover 26 countries of South Asia, East Asia, South East Asia, Pacific, as well as Russia Far East.
The AWC 2018 is scheduled on January 6 to January 21, 2018.
The census is primarily carried out by volunteers from all walks of life: university and school staff and students, nature club members, amateur and professional ornithologists, government and non-governmental agencies related to forestry, wildlife or wetland conservation and others. –Mhike R. Cigaral • Photos from Wild Bird Club of the Philippines