by Paola C. Lazatin
Every morning, I wake up to the sound of birds chirping by my window. I have always taken this for granted. I mean it doesn’t seem like much of a big deal. But what I don’t realize is that birds carry a large importance to the environment.
Last week, Dr. Benjamin Vallejo of the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology if I am not mistaken, conducted a talk in our class on Bird watching, also known as birding. He says that the University is a perfect place for Bird watching since it is home to over a dozen species of birds – from the common kinds to even the rarer finds. There are King Fishers, Fantails, Shrikes, Mayas, and so much more. Sometimes, even owls are spotted. I have always been interested in taking up the Bird watching subject for my PE so it was really fortunate for me to get a quick glimpse on how it really works. And I never imagined how much energy and patience is needed for this. He explained that first, you would divide an area in to plots. You would work your way around that plot by just randomly walking for about twenty minutes. And to do a legitimate study, you would have to continue doing this for about a year or so. Bird watching is definitely no easy task. Later during the subject, we were able to experience (an extremely simplified version of) Bird watching. It was very difficult because first of all, we did not know the names of any of the birds. We only knew one kind – the ever so famous Maya bird (and the Philippine Eagle which sadly, we did not see. I kid!) And there seemed to be an abundance of Maya birds in UP. Another was that it was already nearing lunch time. According to Dr. Vallejo, Bird watching is supposed to be done early in the morning. And last, when Bird watching, one must be quiet and observant. My group was quite observant but we could not help but make noise so we ended up scaring whatever birds were still there in the afternoon, away. We did see a yellow bird and a white one with black wings.
What is interesting about these birds is that amidst all the pollution, the noise, the city life, there is still a habitat for these peaceful birds. These birds are very important because they contribute much to the ecosystem. Birds also serve as indicators for our environment. You should be worried if one day, you don’t hear any more birds. This may be a bad sign for your surroundings (or you may just have hearing problems). There are so many more reasons that I can’t really enumerate but I hope that we don’t end up misplacing these birds or end up driving them away. It is somewhat our responsibility to make sure they are not harmed. Let us take care of the university. We should not forget that we aren't the only inhabitants; we are sharing it with so many others.