All Headline News
May 7, 2010 3:40 p.m. EST
Kris Alingod - AHN News Contributor
Davao, Philippines (AHN) - The first Asian Bird Fair will be held
this year in the southern Philippines, one of the world's most
threatened biodiversity hot spots and home to one of the rarest
birds of prey, the critically endangered Philippine eagle.
The fair will be held in Davao through a collaboration among bird
watchers and conservationists in six countries including China
and Malaysia. The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines is leading
preparations in the host city, where more than 200 delegates are
expected to converge in September.
The Philippines has more than 600 species of birds, of which 192
are endemic or found nowhere else and 67 are globally threatened,
according to Avibase. The nation, the world's second-largest archipelago,
is a way station for migratory species that regularly travel the
East Asian-Australasian Flyway, which stretches north to Russia
and Alaska and south to New Zealand.
One wintering area popular worldwide is in Olango in the central
Philippines. Asian dowitchers, Eurasian curlew, whimbrels and
black-tailed godwits flock to the island from September through
Another area is a coastal lagoon in Paranaque, a city just south
of the capital of Manila, where herons and egrets are protected
by a presidential proclamation declaring the area a critical habitat
and ecotourism site.
The proclamation, issued three years ago, was a rare victory in
a country that has, according to the U.S.-based group Conservation
International, only 7 percent of its original forest cover left.
Endemic species such as the Cebu flowerpecker, the Visayan writhed
hornbill and the Philippine eagle are confined to living in "forest
fragments," the group adds.
Bird watchers and conservationists are set to mark World Migratory
Bird Day this weekend by focusing on 192 species around the globe
that have been declared critically endangered.
"The focus on the most threatened migratory birds in 2010
acts as yet another reminder to governments that more needs to
be done internationally to conserve these species," Elizabeth
Maruma Mrema, executive secretary of the United Nations administered
Convention on Migratory Species, said in a statement.
Apart from forest destruction and poaching, migratory birds also
die from collisions with buildings and bright lights from tall
The effect of a building's interior and exterior on migratory
birds has prompted some cities such as Chicago to have a "lights
out" program. Birds fly lower under cloudy or foggy conditions
and are confused by artificial lights from tall structures. Birds
can either crash against the building or get "trapped"
by light, causing them to circle the structure for hours until
they die from exhaustion.
"Confused by artificial lights, blinded by weather, and unable
to see glass, birds by the hundreds and even thousands can be
injured or killed in one night at one building," according
to Toronto's Fatal Light Awareness Program, whose website shows
a photo of birds trapped in the "Tribute to Light" spots
at the Ground Zero Memorial in September 2004.
"Compared to habitat loss, pollution, and over-hunting, the
issue of building collisions is neither well-known nor adequately
understood," the group added.