Join a world-wide bird count in Philippine wetlands
New and old bird lovers are invited to join the Haribon Foundation to count “wader” birds on Saturday, November 5, in one of Manila Bay’s last remaining mangrove habitats.
By Albert Balbutin, Communications Division, Haribon Foundation
A “wader” is a bird with legs and/or a beak adapted to wading in the water for food. And the world needs our help in counting these waders visiting the Philippines.
Over half a million migratory birds including 64 globally-threatened species are now traveling through the Philippines via the East Asian Australasian Flyway (EAAF), one of only 9 flyways in the world where migratory birds travel every year.
These birds visit the Philippines from September to March to escape the cold winter months of the north. But these “vacationing” birds need more than warm weather. Without healthy wetlands full of food, and habitats safe from human disturbance, the birds may have no place to land when they arrive.
By counting birds such as waders, scientists can identify which habitats are getting healthier by the year, or worsening over time.
Why are migratory birds important?
Birds in general provide seed dispersal, pest regulation and other key functions that keep our environment healthy. Wetlands that are not healthy enough for migratory birds are more likely to be just as unhealthy for humans. By looking out for these birds, which are easy to spot and fun to watch, we in turn help the habitats we share with them.
To help raise awareness about the state and importance of migratory birds and their habitats, Haribon is calling on veteran and budding birdwatchers to join the count taking place in Parañaque on Freedom Island, Manila Bay on November 5. The data collected will then be sent to UK-based conservation group Wader Quest, which makes the call for a world-wide count every year from November 5-6.