Zamboanga City – Bird’s Paradise PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 14 January 2015 13:34

Thanks to the 9th Philippine Bird Festival held in our city last year, there are several endemic bird species found and discovered in Zamboanga City that most locals are not aware of. It can make Zamboanga City a haven for God's flying creations - Bird's Paradise. It is an good indicator too that our city's environment is healthy and clean.

In an article written by Albert Balbutin Jr., “Zamboanga City, Birding, and the 9th Philippine Bird Festival," (April 2014 in the Haribon Foundation website),” he mentioned several discoveries that Pep Talk is proud to share.

First discovery, Balbutin wrote that the migratory bird, the Great Egret (Ardea alba), has made Zamboanga City their new home, hence, technically they are "not migratory" anymore. These immaculate white birds have been breeding at the mangroves forest of Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology (ZSCMST). You will be amazed by their beauty and flight.

To the credit of Dr. Milavel Nazario, ZSCMST president, her school built a viewing bird's deck for the general public to do bird watching for free. The best time to view these birds is sunset. Other birds identified there by the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines are the Black-crowned Night Herons (Nycticorax nycticorax), Rufous Night Herons (Nycticorax caledonicus), and Brown Shrikes (Lanius cristatus).

Second, Zamboanga City holds one of the largest watersheds in the country, the Pasonanca Natural Park, with large area of 17,511.9 hectares. Several bird species were sighted here such as egrets, eagles, and kingfishers. The Philippine Serpent Eagle (Spilornis holospilus) and a Silvery Kingfisher (Alcedo argentata) found only in the Philippines made this place their home too.Thought this place is not open to the public but an environmental tour can be arranged with the office of DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources).

Third discovery, one of the many environments recommended by the writer is Mt. Baluno. The Philippine Bird Festival delegates were amazed with the beauty of this mountain. They had trekked down a dirt road where a beautiful Bagras tree (Eucalyptus deglupta) also known as the Mindanao gum or Rainbow gum, stood to welcome visitors. Within this same facility, nests of Glossy Swiftlets (Collocalia esculenta) were found on beams in the ceilings. A Philippine Falconet (Microhierax erythrogenys), the smallest raptor in the Philippines, welcomed them as it stood perched with its black head and wings. Further down more birds were spotted, like the Whiskered Treeswift (Hemiprocne comata), a beautiful bird with whisker-like white streaks on its head.

And the fourth discovery is the natural wetland areas of Baranggay Victoria. It serves as a nesting place for many birds. One is the black-winged Stilts (Himantopus himantopus), identified by their pink legs and black wings.  Pep Talk hopes the people of Victoria can take advantage of their God-given environment and make it as an eco-tourism site.

"Help people help the environment" is the movement of the Haribon Foundation and our city can do it Pep Talk believes. All we need to do is love our environment - plant more trees such as mangroves, conserve our watersheds and wetland areas, among others.

And Pep Talk is sure more birds will come to live with us in peace.

By Dante Corteza

Mathew 25:26-17 “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”