A whiff of fresh air, these migratory birds

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    ‘We are sure many environmentalists will be happy to push for this effort to maintain and conserve the wetlands and their annual winged visitors.’

    IT should come as a whiff of fresh air, this arrival in Pampanga of some 80,000 migratory birds from the north, escaping the harsh snow and ice of the northern hemisphere and traveling south, then returning to their places of origin for their annual breeding season. The coming of the migratory birds, some 63 species in all according to the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) in its latest count, is a ray of sunshine to our people who have been inured to sacrifices and suffering brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 3 reported that the waterfowl species visiting mostly the wetland of Candaba include kingfishers, herons, egrets, gulls, gallinules, rails, geese, and ducks.

    These species chose to make their stopovers mostly in three areas — the wetland areas of the towns of Candaba and Sasmuan in Pampanga, and the west bank of the Pampanga river in Barangay Consuelo, Macabebe.

    According to the Biodiversity Management Bureau of the DENR, the annual bird migration season in the Philippines commences in September every year when migratory birds travel southward, and ends when they go northwards to return to their breeding grounds in March of the following year.

    It is good that the government has partnered with the AWC in tracking the arrival and departure of these birds. The survey that usually takes place during the second and third weeks of January aims to obtain correct information on waterbird populations in the wetlands for the evaluation of the condition of the country’s wetlands and the changes in the waterbird area distribution.

    The numbers are monitored in environment-protected areas such as the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecosystem Area, Naujan Lake National Park in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro, and Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Cebu, among others. Of course, the center of this data gathering is Pampanga, particularly Candaba, Sasmuan, and Macabebe.

    We are sure many environmentalists among officials will be happy to push for this effort to maintain and conserve the wetlands and their annual winged visitors. Among them are Rep. Loren Legarda and Sen. Cynthia Villar. This effort will be good for tourism, too, and so it deserves the support of all Filipinos.