BALANGA CITY – The 2018 Asian waterbird census last Saturday spotted and counted 13,065 “ibong dayo” or various species of migratory birds in one day at wetlands in five coastal villages of this component city.
The figure according to official records is a bit lower than last year’s number, 15,075.
Waterbird census takers were composed of representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Tourism and the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP).
Since 2009, the city government of Balanga hosted the annual event.
Way back in 2016, the count reached 29,384 waterbirds.
Yearly, the official count was made in barangays Sibacan, Puerto Rivas Ibaba, Puerto Rivas Itaas, Puerto Rivas Lote and Tortugas — all seaside villages of this component city.
Mila Ramirez of DENR Bataan said this DENR-led waterbird census was simultaneously held in various birdwatching sites every January.
She added it is an international endeavor of scientists to monitor the population of waterbirds in Asia.
Based on the their official report, there are 63 species of migratory birds, mostly small, medium, and large egrets, whiskered tern, and black-winged stilt frequenting Balanga wetlands.
Mike Lu of WBCP said these waterbirds arrive in the city’s wetlands starting September to escape the harsh cold winter days in mainland Asia and Europe, and then return to their countries of origin in March.
“The local government of Balanga City has always been very supportive of the teams covering the Asian Waterbird Census in terms of providing logistical support (i.e., local transport, board and lodging and security escorts). How I wish other local governments would also put value to the work of people who care for the environment,” Lu said on his Facebook account. –Text and photos by Mhike R. Cigaral •
Photos of birds by Mike Lu