Around 50 participants of the second session of the two-week “Training on Wildlife Conservation and Management” engaged in birdwatching last August 24, 2018 at the College of Forestry and Natural Resources campus. The activity was part of the training designed to increase the DENR’s regional wildlife protection officers’ recognition of birds in their natural habitat.

With the help of staff and volunteers of the UPLB Museum of Natural History, trainees tried to identify different bird species observed in the Mount Makiling Forest Reserve. As early as five o'clock in the morning, the trainees gathered at the Museum of Natural History to start their hike through several observation stations determined by the Museum personnel. The activity was to be done very early since most birds are typically more active after sunrise. Some of the stations included the CFNR Arbor Square, UPLB-EDC Binhi Biodiversity Park, the TREES parking lot and the several areas inside the Makiling Botanic Garden.

Birding is a wildlife observation primarily done with the naked eye, or through visual enhancement devices like binoculars or digital scope cameras with lens, or even through cameras with telephoto lens. However, some people with years and years of experience can identify birds simply by listening to their sounds or calls. In cases wherein, the birds cannot be seen nor heard, some birdwatchers try to mimic the bird’s call and hope for a response from it.

Some other tips when birdwatching include doing it in small groups, avoiding bright-colored clothing, and staying quiet.

Throughout the morning, the trainees have spotted several birds including the Tarictic Hornbill and the Red-crested Malkoha, which are endemic only in Luzon.

According to James DV. Alvarez, one of the facilitators from MNH and who had identified twelve bird species that day, in his several years of fieldwork, birding is really a matter of luck. Birds are either inactive perhaps because of the time, or maybe some other bird species have displaced them off their common ground.

While some of the trainees had difficulty in spotting birds, some of them felt accomplished. The trainees appreciated that fact that what they were doing and practicing will be of great help to their yearly inventory and recording of the various species in different areas in the Philippines as part of the over-all monitoring of the country’s precious biodiversity.


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