DENR teams count close to 83,000 barn swallows flocking in Koronadal City

 

KORONADAL CITY – In a bid to manage the flocks of migratory wild birds in Koronadal City, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Regional Executive Director Nilo B. Tamoria authorized the conduct of a scientific bird counting on March 4, 2019.

Five teams coming from the different DENR offices, namely the regional, provincial and community (CENRO Banga) offices joined forces to do the bird population estimates.

Forester Zobair B. Sidic of PENRO of South Cotabato, the lead office in the bird count, identified the birds as barn swallow (Hirundu rustica) in a briefing conducted before jump off to bird count.

During night time, the birds are seen roosting on power transmission lines along Gen. Santos Drive and Alunan Avenue in this city.

Some 82,852 barn swallows were counted using direct counting and unit-sampling estimates between 9:00 to 10:30 P.M. of March 4, 2019.

Barn swallows arrived in flocks starting September and will leave the area between March to April 2019 according to Forester Shalimar A. Disomangcop, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) for South Cotabato. “The Philippines, part of the 22-country East Asian-Australasian Fly Way, is one of the wintering grounds of the said birds which escaped the harsh winter in cooler countries,” Mr. Disomangcop explained.

A fly way is defined as an established air route of migratory birds (https://www.merriam-webster.com).

Aside from Koronadal City, there were also previous reports of barn swallow migration in some other places in the country like in Batangas City and Davao del Norte in 2014, Zamboanga City in 2013 and some other cities and provinces in the Philippines.

“The barn swallows came to Koronadal City as refugees from foreign lands. As Filipinos who are known for hospitality, we must be hospitable enough to provide a safe home to these wild birds,” For. Sidic said.

Forester Sidic allayed the fears of some residents that the barn swallows might bring in diseases like bird flu. The birds travelled several miles before reaching the Philippines. A sick bird that travels for months will most likely die along the way before reaching its destination, hence the possibility for barn swallows to bring bird flu is nil. However, this does not prevent the Anti-Bird Flu Task Force to closely monitor the birds.

Further, one of the problems encountered by Koronadal City residents is the proliferation of unsanitary bird droppings and the alleged damage to a transformer attributed to the birds. This prompted the Provincial Development Council of South Cotabato to request the DENR to make a presentation regarding barn swallows in one of their meetings.

Considering the urgency of the situation, the bird count was conducted by the DENR. It was also made part of the celebration of World Wildlife Day on March 3, 2019 with the theme “Life below water: for People and Planet”, with a twist.

When asked what is so special in Koronadal City for having been the choice of the barn swallows for their temporary home, Forester Sidic said that the city is relatively safe from bird predators coupled with the city’s warm weather and the abundance of insects as food for the birds in nearby areas, are the probable reasons. In effect, barn swallows provide an effective biological control for insects like flies, beetles and other flying insects.

Moreover, barn swallows are not considered as endangered species but their population is observed to be declining. Hence, they are included under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 which prohibits disturbing the birds, their nest, or their eggs. (Source:https://www.nps.gov). (MCLocsin)

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The Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO)-Glan headed by CENRO Abdul D. Cariga and Association of Barangay Captains ABC Pres.Chairman Rommel Retuya of Malugon Sarangani, together with some People's Organizations visited this Saturday, July 20 an established 2012 rubber plantation for an urban greening campaign.(KBBenpolok) Photos by: CENR Officer Abdul D.Cariga

 

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The Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO)-Glan headed by CENRO Abdul D. Cariga and Association of Barangay Captains ABC Pres.Chairman Rommel Retuya of Malugon Sarangani, together with some People's Organizations visited this Saturday, July 20 an established 2012 rubber plantation for an urban greening campaign.(KBBenpolok) Photos by: CENR Officer Abdul D.Cariga

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