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Balanga City: A haven for migratory birds

Headline Gitnang Luzon
January 27, 2015
http://www.headlinegl.com/balanga-city-a-haven-for-migratory-birds-2/



BALANGA CITY The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Saturday announced the slight increase in the number of ibong dayo (migratory birds) in the annual Asian Water Bird Census for this year conducted in this component city.
WBCP president Gina Mapua said for this year's count, they have recorded 12,599 migratory birds belonging to 38 species. Barangay Tortugas where the Wetland and Nature Park is located has 4,163 number of birds; 893 for Puerto Rivas Itaas, the other side of the river facing Manila Bay; 3,361 were sighted in Puerto Rivas Lote; and 4,182 in Sibacan / Tuyo areas where a lot of fishponds are located.

Last January 2014, the group counted 12,248 water birds.

On January 2013, the number of birds that frequent the city wetlands numbered to 25,935. Mapua cited several reasons in the decline in the birds' population during the collating of data held at the audio video room of the Balanga City Hall.

"It could be the changes in weather, changes of the tides, fishpond conditions. Most of the fishponds were cleared of too much vegetation. As a consequence all we had was earth and water and many of the fishponds were full of water and this discounts all the birds with short legs," Mapua told newsmen.

The official also blamed some activities in the city that may have disturbed the birds in the area like the dredging of the river.

Meanwhile, Cristina Cinco, the WBCP's secretary, said they still consider the census results as unofficial because their members have photographed a lot of unidentified species.

"We have seen many interesting species. We have it in our camera, we have to process this and probably we can have some identification this week. They are varying in numbers," Cinco reiterated.

Red-necked stints, curlew sandpipers, marsh sandpipers and red plovers were among those captured on cameras. Little, intermediate and large egrets, whiskered terns, shanks, herons and black winged stilts dominated the list of the bird watchers.

"You can never predict in wildlife, as a consequence this may be just be a pattern in which right now we're in a dip. We may expect a rise again in the next few years. Rest assured I think the birds are there, they are not just in Balanga," Mapua ended.