World Migratory Bird Day October 2018

Welcome to the birds! This season marks the annual bird migration in the Philippines, whereby influx of migratory birds is expected to commence around September (southward migration) and return to their breeding grounds by March (northward migration). These birds stop briefly along wetlands - swamps, marshes, intertidal and coastal areas, rivers, ponds, lakes, as well as forest throughout the country, to rest and refuel for their onward journey.

In time with the bird migration season, the Philippines will be joining the global community in the observance of the World Migratory Bird Day 2018 (WMBD 2018) on 13th October 2018. With the theme "Unifying our voices for bird conservation, we shall amplify our message about the need for conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. Everyone is encouraged to share this message through the use of hashtags #WorldMigratoryBirdDay and #WMBD2018 on social media. Together with bird supporters all over the world, our voices shall be united."

Bird migration is a cyclical and natural phenomenon in response to seasonal patterns across the globe. For instance, birds migrate from the Northern hemisphere to escape the winter season and seek warmer climate to the southern part of the globe. Migrating population of birds follows a regular path called "Flyways". The Philippines is within the East Asian-Australasian Flyway that straddles 22 countries from Alaska, Russia, China, Japan, Korea, countries of the

South East Asia and down to Australia and New Zealand. Migratory birds arrive in the Philippines around September to February for their southward migration and leave homeward

(northward migration) by March to May. They stop briefly along wetland areas in the country (e.g. Candaba Swamp, Naujan Lake National Park, Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area, Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary, shores of Manila Bay, etc.) to rest and refuel for their journey. The DENR and bird enthusiasts regularly monitor the population of these birds as part of a regional initiative called the "Asian Waterbird Count", a synchronized counting of migratory birds throughout Asia on the 2nd to 3rd week of January of each year. To date, over 170 migratory bird sites in the country are being monitored during the AWC period. The Philippine government also conserve and manage critical migratory bird sites as Protected Areas or "Critical Habitats" not only for the migratory birds but to sustain functional ecosystems - our life support system. Conserving wetland habitats also assures migratory birds of congregation areas keeping them away from built up areas to avoid the contact between wild birds and humans and domestic animals and thus reducing the risk of zoonotic disease such as bird flu.

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