or the hobby of observing various species of birds, may
sound like a boring pastime for some, but to those who are
into it believe that it's a "lifetime ticket to the
theater of nature."
McCarthy, a 37-year-old British who has been residing in
the Philippines for the past 12 years, is a self-confessed
his wife Natalie, and their two boys, live in Ayala Westgrove
Heights, a high-end residential development surrounded by
greenery, rolling terrain and thousands of mango trees,
situated in Silang, Cavite.
he spends his time looking through his binoculars, telescope,
and digital camera, to get more up-close with the birds.
was a trained zoologist before. I've always loved wild birds
since I was six years old. There is so much beauty and excitement
in watching wild birds in their natural habitat. You can
find them everywhere, especially in this country - in your
local park, forests, anywhere you travel," observed
added that bird-watching involves learning to identify the
birds and understanding their songs and behavior.
like James can immediately notice and even identify a bird
from its shape or call.
from the endemic or resident species all over the archipelago,
the Philippines is fortunate to get a host of foreign (bird)
visitors, which can number up to 40 percent of bird populations
at any given time.
Ayala Westgrove Heights' vast landscape, James has identified
about 87 different species of endemic and foreign birds,
including the Brown shrike, Coppersmith barbet, Olive-backed
sun-bird, Grey-faced buzzard, Philippine Scops Owl, Philippine
nightjar, White-throated kingfisher, Buzzing flower pecker,
among other varities.
hobby has taken him to Greenland, Africa, and other countries,
and locally, in Bohol, Palawan, Olango Island, Makiling,
Banahaw, and Cebu.
present, James is working with Ayala Land, the developer
of the subdivision, in coming up with a small book that
will document the various birds species which frequent Westgrove,
and hopefully serve as a "field guide" to budding
in the Philippines is in its infancy stage. I know only
about 20 people who are into the hobby, and this is a very
small figure compared to the five perfect of the population
of England who are interested in birding", said James.
are some NGOs which are promoting the hobby, like Haribon,
but we need to create more awareness about this activity...which
can essentially help us plan a better, more sustainable
relationship with our environment," James added.
is currently working with other Filipinos Birders to start
a website (www.birdwatch.ph)
for those interested in learning more about birds and going
natural habitat of birds has been reduced over the years
that's why it is important that companies work hard to preserve
and enhance their habitat within their developments. Helping
homeowners with garden planning and providing seedlings
of `bird-friendly' trees is one of the core projects of
the Ayala Westgrove Home-Owners environmental committee."
to James, this can be achieved by planting a good balance
of fruit-bearing trees and shade trees, or other plants
that make the whole area attractive. Small marshes also
serve as a breeding ground for birds.
or any animal for that matter, can live side by side with
people, but we should be more considerate. For me, I get
to enhance this personal connection through bird-watching.
It's a fulfilling hobby, a quest to appreciate the immense
beauty of nature, that will stay with you all your life,"