Migratory birds visit Antique's wetlands
by PS Mabaquiao
San Jose, Antique (24 February) -- Every year migratory birds from different parts of the world come to visit Antique's wetlands because of tropical climate conducive for molting, feeding and breeding.
Recent Asian Waterbird Census result showed a total 4,532 waterbird species were seen visiting the Antique vast wetlands, classified into seventeen species of migratory birds, said Beverly Lyneth Salvan, Information Officer of DENR.
Among the migratory birds identified are Cinnamon and Yellow Bittern, Little and Cattle Egret, Barred Tail, Pacific Golden, Kentish and Little Ringed Plover, unidentified Shorebirds, Egret, Terns and Spoonbills, Common and Terek Sandpiper, Striated Heron, and Black Winged Stilt.
Cattle Egret has the highest population of 3,381 from different migratory sites in the province where the greatest concentration are counted in Barangay Lipata, Culasi. Other sites visited are swamps and fishponds in the towns of Hamtic.
This year's bird count reduced by 602 from last year's total of 5,134, said Salvan. The decrease in number of migratory birds maybe due to dry ponds and rice paddies, that they transferred their roasting place and feeding grounds.
The Asian Waterbird Census is an annual event that takes place every 2nd and 3rd week of January to monitor population of migratory birds and keep the country free of bird flu.
In line with the celebration of World Wetlands Day this February, the DENR is advocating for the preservation of wetlands like swamps, ricefields, mangrove forest, marshlands, rivers, lakes, aquaculture ponds among others not just for migratory birds but also for maintenance of the environmental health of the country and survival of mankind, said John Temana, Information Officer of CENRO-Culasi.
Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, comparable to rainforest and coral reefs. They have been called "cradles of biodiversity" supporting a rich variety of species. Many birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates are found in wetlands, as are numerous plants, including rice-the staple food plant of about half the world's population. (PIA) [top]