January 24, 2011 7:47
CANDABA, Pampanga, Jan. 23 — At least
8,725 migratory birds of 41 species were found roaming around
the Candaba Wetlands during the 2011 Asian Water Bird Census
(AWC) held on Sunday at the Wildlife Reserve Park in Sitio
Dona Simang, Visal San Pablo here.
The census was spearheaded by Mike Lu, Wild
Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) president, and other club
members in coordination with the municipal government officials
headed by Mayor Jerry Pelayo.
Lu noted that the number of migratory birds
in Candaba significantly decreased as compared to at least
11,000 record last year.
"The ducks did not stay maybe because
of lost of habitat," he said.
The WBCP president disclosed that during
their previous visit in the wildlife reserve park, they found
that most of the areas were flooded.
However, in the recent census, he observed
that the water level was no longer the same.
"This could have contributed to the
decrease of migratory birds here," he said.
Leny Manalo, chief of staff of Mayor Pelayo,
said the level of water decreased naturally due to climate
change. In fact, he said, most villages here did not submerge
in floodwaters last year.
The Asian Water Bird Census, initiated in
1987, is aimed at providing the basis for estimates of waterbird
populations and monitor changes in waterbird numbers and distribution
by regular and standardized counts of representative wetlands.
The bird census is part of the global water
bird monitoring program of the International Water Bird Census
coordinated by the Wetlands International and the Protected
Areas and Wildlife Bureau.
Meanwhile, it can be recalled that before
the year 2010 ended, the Candaba wetlands marked another Philippine
record when for the first time, a Greater White-fronted Goose,
a bird living usually in Northern and Central North America
and Europe , was spotted in the area.
This was confirmed by two members of the
Wild Bird Club of the Philippines –- Alex Loinaz and
Sylvia Ramos, the photographer who first captured the Greater
White-fronted Goose flying freely here.
The Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)
is a goose species closely related to the smaller Lesser White-fronted
Goose (A. erythropus).
In Europe, it has been known simply as "White-fronted
Goose"; in North America , it is known as the Greater
White-fronted Goose (or "Greater Whitefront"), and
this name is also increasingly adopted internationally.
Migratory birds have been visiting the Candaba
swamp from October and go back home in their country of origin
starting March of every year.
Other rare migratory birds such as seven
purple swamphens (Porphyrio porphyrio), Chinese pond herons
(Ardeola bacchus), and black-crowned night-herons (Nycticorax
nycticorax) were also previously included in the list of species
documented in the said wetlands by birdwatchers.
The water bird census is also part of the
incoming Ibon-Ebun Festival to be held in February. (PNA)