Bird watchers start monitoring migratory birds in Ilocos Norte’s wetlands

PAOAY, Ilocos Norte, Dec. 3 (PIA) – A team of bird watchers started monitoring the presence of migratory birds escaping the cold front of temperate regions into the wetland of Paoay Lake, considered one of the migratory bird sites in the country.

Dr. PetrusCalope, a birder who introduced bird watching and monitoring in the province, teamed up with the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in monitoring the lake for the presence of migratory birds on November 28.

Calope had urged communities around the lake to protect birds seeking shelter and avoid disturbing them during their annual visit in the province’s wet lands.

The provincial government has started promoting birdwatching as a tourist attraction in Paoay town. A view deck and other tourist facilities were erected in Barangay Nagbacalan where a vantage view of the Paoay Lake can be found.

According to the website of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Philippines has 117 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) covering 32,302 square kilometers that act as refuge for as many as 115 globally threatened species of water birds.

In the Philippines, the peak months for birds migrating to the South are usually from September to November, while those traveling North often occur between February and April, the DENR said.

Based on the yearly Asian Waterbird Census conducted early this year, Paoay Lake has been providing shelter to some bird species namely Little Grebe, Great Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Philippine Duck, Tuffted Duck, White-browed Crake, Common Kingfisher, White-collared Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher and the Great Cormorant.

The DENR, through the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, has been working closely with organizations of bird watchers and other wildlife enthusiasts to protect migratory bird sites.

Migratory bird sites are often threatened by human activities, such as overexploitation and conversion of ecosystems for development purposes.

The provincial government has been monitoring activities around Paoay Lake following reports that e-coli bacteria was found on the water samples collected from the lake. (PIA 1 Ilocos Norte)