Because of a recent land reclamation
issue concerning a bird sanctuary on Manila Bay, the Wild
Bird Club of the Philippines has taken the spotlight for the
past weeks. At the Las Piñas-Parañaque Coastal
Lagoon in Manila Bay lies a nature reserve that serves as
a home and resting spot for dozens of bird species, and yet
more than 635 hectares are being planned to be reclaimed in
favor of a new business center in the area. Mike Lu, the president
of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, has been one of
the proponents against this reclamation project. “Right
now, we are looking for a win-win solution. What we’re
hoping for is that only half of the reclamation project pushes
through,” says Lu.
Beyond this issue, however, few people actually
know about the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines and what
it stands for. The club was founded back in the early 2000s
by hobbyists who liked birdwatching. Composed of 11 members
back then, Lu and a few officers decided to formalize the
club in 2003, creating a venue for eager birdwatchers to come
together on weekends and visit potential bird sites in the
country. “There are more than 200 species of birds which
are unique to the Philippines,” says Lu. What the club
is aiming for is a heightened sense of awareness about the
ornithological wonders of the country and to get people—both
locals and expats alike—interested in indulging in the
hobby and preserving the natural habitats of these winged
Part of the efforts of the Wild Bird Club
is to establish and expand their scientific bird records where
the species of birds in the Philippines are written. Individual
members of the group, conservation groups, and international
sources all help add to the list.
Lu relates that foreigners contribute greatly
to the reports and to the welfare of the club in general.
Besides the fact that British-born James McCarthy used his
own funds to establish the club, Danish ornithologist Arne
Jensen is the one-in-charge of the Records Committee. Jensen
is also the president of the Bird Club in Denmark.
There are more than 200 species of birds
unique to the Philippines. How many of them do you know?
Bird festivals like the 7th Philippine Bird
Festival in Dumaguete and the 2nd Asian Bird Fair in Taiwan
are also connected with the club, providing even beginners
an avenue where they can have fun not only by watching birds
but also conducting tradeshows, bird origami and face painting
activities, as well as outreach programs by collaborating
with different conservation nongovernment organizations. “We
invite private schools and public schools to come and we teach
people on stage about birdwatching,” says Lu.
Outside of bird festivals, the Wild Bird
Club of the Philippines also delves into the corporate world
by conducting bird surveys for various companies. “Different
corporations and resorts invite us to do bird surveys for
them. They use it to promote their resort,” says Lu.
One can become a member in the club by paying
Php400 and by getting the membership form from their website.
“Fresh air, sun and nature— better than TV!”
their website states. If you catch a glimpse of a Filipino
bird taking flight, you will surely agree. Visit their website
http://birdwatch.ph to see the Philippine species of bird
and to discover more details about the club.