The official website of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines
The official website of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines

Back to Home

Guiaberos and Irate Balicassiaos
Makiling Botanic Garden and its vicinity

Date: May 25, 2003
Overcast, rain, strong winds
by Mads Bajarias

Months ago I pitched a story idea to a magazine about birds in Mount Makiling. However I'm in a rut and couldn't get a fresh, interesting-enough angle. Hoping to rid of the writer's block I went to Makiling just when the big storm was beginning to hit. The jeepneys to forestry were slow to fill so I decided to walk from "crossing" to forestry instead. Winds tore at my puny umbrella and the campus looked deserted. By 7:00 am I was at the entrance to the Botanic Garden. There was no one so I let myself in. The entire town must still be curled up in bed and I was asking myself "What am I doing here!"

After a few hours in the Botanic Garden I walked a bit of the way up until the Flat Rocks marker and turned left in an unmarked trail where I saw a nest. It was a loose arrangement of twigs, rather flimsy-looking. There was a single egg in it. Pigeon's? I was afraid the egg would fall any moment. In my mind's eye, I saw the tree swaying in the typhoon, the egg rolling this way and that in the nest, stopping just before the edge, millimeters from disaster.

Anyway, here's what I saw:
1. Guiabero (2) -- On the left-hand trail opposite Flat Rocks.
2. Red-crested Malkoha (6) -- Calling "chuk---chuk---chuk."
3. Scale-feathered Malkoha (1) -- Heard calling: "kissss mi!---kissss mi!"
4. Lesser Coucal (1)
5. Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker (1) -- Heard only. Makes a loud noise for so small a creature.
6. Philipine Bulbul -- Still conspicuous as ever and always in pairs.
7. Balicassiao (5-10) -- Three were aggressive near the stream down the
Botanic Garden.

They made their loud noises and swooped over my head until I was out of their territory. This is first time I have been "attacked" by birds. Were they guarding a nest? Why three?

Found the behavior interesting.
8. Blue-headed Fantail(1) -- "tsip-tsip-tsip-tsip."
9. Red-keeled Flowerpecker(1) -- This species is always in the large tree outside the gate.