In a bustling metropolis like Metro Manila, who would have believed that migratory birds still find sanctuary in the National Capital Region concrete jungle’s different conservation sites—these are the Las Piñas – Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP), Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach Roxas Boulevard in Manila City, Tanza Marine Tree Park (TMTP) in Navotas City, and BASECO Beach, Brgy. 649 in Manila City, and Barangay Tagalag and Malanday in Valenzuela City. They often stop briefly at these sites to rest and refuel for their onward journey.

In spite of being highly urbanized composed of residential communities and business districts, Metro Manila still hosts diverse wildlife fauna, as well as migratory bird species, where the region is an essential part of bird migration routes in the East Asia-Australian Flyway.

Regular bird watching and monitoring of specific avifaunal species in the mentioned sites is being conducted by the DENR National Capital Region, through its Conservation and Development Division’s Protected Area Management Office, Coastal Resources and Foreshore Management Section, and Protected Area Management and Biodiversity Conservation Section.

It aims to update data for bird populations in Manila Bay and monitor changes in their number and distribution. Data from the activity is collected, analyzed, and used as a basis for policy formulation and interventions directed at protecting and conserving known bird habitats in Manila Bay.

During the 3rd Quarter Bird Monitoring of the regional office, the Eurasian Tree Sparrow is the most abundant and common bird species, followed by the Common Redshank and an Unidentified Tern.

Birds are recognized as one of the most important indicators of the state of the environment. By studying changes in bird populations, one can learn of changes in the environment. A decline in the number of birds seen in an area usually signifies environmental damage through habitat fragmentation and destruction, pollution and pesticides, introduced species, and many other impacts.

According to the Environmental Management Bureau-National Capital Region (EMB-NCR) Regional Director and DENR-NCR OIC Regional Executive Director, Atty. Michael Drake P. Matias, it is important to conduct monitoring of the sites since these also serve as their habitat.

“To monitor is very crucial but to sustainably conserve and protect these protected and conservation areas are more important. Through this, the migratory birds will freely have their stay to feed and breed without hesitations against several environmental threats such as solid waste,” he emphasized.  

This October, the regional office, reminds the general public to be part of the celebration of World Migratory Bird Day on the need for international cooperation to conserve them. Activities concerning the migratory birds will be a big help.

This year’s celebration is under the theme “Water: Sustaining Bird Life”. This wildlife relies on water and its associated habitats—lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, swamps, marshes, and coastal wetlands—for breeding, resting, refueling during migration, and wintering. Yet increasing human demand for water, along with climate change, pollution, and other factors, are threatening these precious aquatic ecosystems.

It serves as an international call to action for the protection of migratory birds, whose ranges often span multiple countries, and are facing many different threats worldwide.