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Bird club festival goes online

/ 04:20 AM August 15, 2020

Months into quarantine, Filipinos looked out their windows and into backyards, and observed what was there all along: birds! Endemic, resident and migrant birds.

The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) noted a spike in pictures or audio clips received, along with descriptions and a recurring query: “What bird is this?”

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Fittingly, WBCP’s 13th Philippine Bird-Tual Festival—the country’s first-ever online bird fest—focuses on backyard birding. Everyone is invited to join for free and ask questions from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, August 15, through the livestream on BirdwatchPhilippines’ Facebook page.

“Expect to learn about birdwatching basics, how to identify urban birds, birding hot spots in the Philippines and the region, and conservation of flagship bird species. There is also a children’s hour with storytelling, drawing, coloring, and face-painting activities,” said Gina Mapua, the festival chair.

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QC RESIDENT A coppersmith barbet, locally known as “pokpok,” emerges from its tree dwelling in Quezon City in a photo taken by birdwatcher Adrian Constantino.

No stranger to risks

“WBCP Bird Festivals have been held in Manila, Cebu City, Puerto Princesa, Davao City, Dumaguete, Balanga, Zamboanga City, Tacurong and Negros to promote awareness of birds and nature, and to develop a concern for their conservation among Filipinos, especially children,’’ Mapua added. “WBCP works with local government units, the Department of Tourism and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to encourage policies and directions toward conservation.”

While annual bird fairs all over the world have been canceled, the Philippine Bird Festival (PBF) has long been navigating risks.

The very first PBF, for example, was held in Quezon City at the height of a global avian flu alert, WBCP president Mike Lu recalled.

Global audience

The 9th PBF, held in Zamboanga, was rescheduled due to a Moro rebel siege while the 11th edition in Bacolod pushed through despite a typhoon.

This year, “the COVID situation put a stop to a physical bird festival but today’s event allows us to share the Philippine Bird Festival with a global audience,” Lu noted. —LU-ANN FUENTES-BAJARIAS, CONTRIBUTOR

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TAGS: Animal, Bird, Birdwatch, COVID-19, Philippine Bird Festival, Philippines, Wild Bird Club of the Philippines
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