Migratory birds reach Carigara, Ormoc City wetlands
Primo A. Cayubit (The Freeman) - January 30, 2018 - 12:00am

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines — Migratory birds from the freezing Tundra regions have flocked to the bays of Carigara town and Ormoc City in Leyte province to feed and roost in the warmer and tropical climate here, according to a report from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Region 8.

DENR-8 Regional Director Crizaldy Barcelo told The Freeman that “there have been recorded sightings of migratory birds in our wetlands. It only shows that our wetlands are still intact and abundant foods are still available for them.”

Barcelo said the peak months for migratory birds to arrive in the country is from September to January or sometimes this period even extends until February. Monitoring of these migratory birds is essential in the protection and management of these birds as well as the wetlands, he said.

Barcelo also quoted Paguntalan, L.M. and Jakosalem, P. G., Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc. that during migration flights, the birds stop over at wetland sites to feed and refuel.

The Philippines is part of the East Asian / Australasian flyway and serves as host to more than eighty species of migratory birds. It is also home to more than 600 species of resident and migratory birds, the DENR-8 official said.

Barcelo said that, in Eastern Visayas, the wetlands in Carigara Bay and Ormoc Bay are the most frequently visited habitats of these so-called “visitors without passports.”

Among these frequent visitors are egrets, ducks, plovers, herons, curlews, sandpipers and greenshanks. “We have to step up our monitoring, conservation and management of these birds and our wetlands in order to maintain or even increase migrant bird population, ” Barcelo said.

The director further explained that wetlands include all lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands, peat lands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, mangroves and other coastal areas, coral reefs, and all human-made sites, such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs and salt pans.

The DENR-8 is also closely working with various stakeholders, including local government units, the private sector, scientific community, academe and civil society for the protection and conservation of the country’s biodiversity, Barcelo said.

The Philippines currently has seven sites designated as Wetland of International Importance or Ramsar Sites, with a total surface area of 244,017 hectares.  The Philippine is also a Contracting Party to the Ramsar Convention or the Convention on Wetlands especially as Waterfowl Habitat, the source said.

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