A bird sanctuary in the city
By Ibsky Romero (The Philippine Star) Updated June 02, 2011
MANILA, Philippines - There are no eagles
inside the Ateneo Loyola Heights campus. But it may come as
a surprise to many that Ateneo is a habitat to more beautiful
bird species, which include the elusive Black-naped Oriole,
the Eurasian Tree Sparrow commonly known as “Maya,”
and the Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker, an endemic bird that
will remind anyone of the cartoon character “Woody Woodpecker.”
Since April 11, the Ateneo Environmental
Management Coalition (AEMC), Ateneo Bird Ecology Study (ABES)
group and the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) have
been organizing a two-hour bird walk at the Loyola Heights
campus of the Ateneo de Manila University.
Walk the trail in awe
The itinerary of the bird walk showcases
a visual delight of lush vegetation matched with cool breeze
that combats the summer heat. The trail starts at the grounds
of the Manila Observatory toward Seminary Road, and then to
Lucas Infirmary which then segues to a narrow flight of steps
that ends at the Residence Halls. From there, the trail continues
to the “mini-forest” part at the vicinity of the
Church of the Gesu and finishes at the “Wildlife Sanctuary”
facing the Jesuit Residence.
This track is both a common passageway for
resident students (dormers) rushing for their PE classes and
an exhilarating track for some professors and parents who
do their morning jogs or walks inside the campus.
Develop more sanctuaries
Bird-watching can be done anytime of the
year. However, it is during summer that most resident birds
mate as it is when migratory birds leave the campus. Hence
the birders from AEMC, ABES and WBCP have been organizing
bird walks since April for interested participants from the
AEMC’s Abby Favis said the main objective
of the bird walk is “to identify and document the different
resident and migratory birds that share this campus with us.”
“Knowing which species are present
and where they dwell also helps us identify areas to develop
as sanctuaries,” Favis added.
The bird walks are guided by volunteer members
of the WBCP and it is fortunate that one of its members is
part of the faculty of the Department of Biology, Trinket
Canlas shared that bird walks are also valuable
educational tool for everyone to know wildlife better and
appreciate the value of his or her surroundings.
And it is good to know that the Ateneo is
one of the few green spaces in Quezon City which can act as
a “green corridor” for wildlife, she added.
Going on a bird walk is also a social activity,
an opportunity for different people to interact outside the
classroom or office setting, strengthening their sense of
community, she added.
Get to know the birds in the campus
Surprisingly, a good number of people who
expressed interest and who participated in the recently concluded
bird walks were an interesting mix of students, faculty, staff
The birders or guides from WBCP helped spot
the birds and shared interesting facts like predator-prey
relationships, the birds’ favorite berries or fruits
as well as helped distinguish bird songs.
So far, the groups were able to record 17
species during the first bird walk and 19 species during the
second bird walk last May 5.
Aside from the abundant Long-tailed Shrikes
and Mayas, some of the notable species are the Black-Crowned
Night-Heron, the Chinese Goshawk, the Philippine Hanging Parrot
(otherwise known as Colasisi), and the Lowland White-eye (endemic
Among the first-timers of the bird walk was
Milet Tendero of the Ateneo School of Social Sciences who
was amazed to discover that the White Collared Kingfisher,
Coppersmith Barbet, Oriental Magpie-Robin, and the Olive-backed
Sunbird are among the birds that roam in the campus where
“To be working in a bird sanctuary
and in such a beautiful campus is like working at home,”
For more information or bird walk inquiries,
contact Abby Favis at 426-6001 extension 5008 or 5650 or via
telefax at (632) 426-4321. Also visit www.ateneo.edu.