Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bird Diversity in the University of the Philippines Diliman

by Kendra Lorin                                                                                                                STS X3

            University of the Philippines- Diliman perhaps is the venue of the most diverse bird community in comparison to other city campuses which made the campus a place for bird photographers and bird-watchers. In one of the STS classes, Professor Vallejo, a guest speaker, in his talk, “Spatial Patterns of Bird Diversity and Abundance in an Urban Tropical Landscape: The University of the Philippines Campus,” revealed that there are actually more than 50 species of birds in the campus. Prof. Vallejo had conducted a study about it in the campus testing how diverse the bird community really is. He also tackled about the way they conducted the study. They divided the campus into plots with 20-25 hectares each. With that, the researchers will randomly walk around a specified area for 20 minutes, tallying which and how many birds are in that certain area. There are actually other alternatives like, catching the birds and then tagging them. This is easier, but it may affect the birds’ health which in turn, requires the dean’s permit before you’ll be allowed to do so.

            After his talk, Prof. Vallejo made us try it ourselves and it is definitely not a very easy thing to do. It was scorching hot at that time, given our 9-11 am schedule. Moreover, we were told that we should expect that we will not be able to see a lot of different kind of birds because birds, apparently, gets inactive at noon. Indeed, much to our disappointment, we’ve only seen scribes, mayas and chickens (I really have to include chickens in the list). When we were heading back to the classroom, unexpectedly, we saw a yellow bird (I was not able to know its name, however, so I just named it as a yellow bird; it is as large as a dove and is bright yellow in color).  We were almost shouting even though were not allowed to do so for it may scare the birds away, but heck, it was really exciting. I got the taste of save the best for the last, indeed.

            I can compare the experience with what is happening in real life. Sometimes, we are put under an impression that we may not get anything by doing something, but really, it’s up to you. Perhaps, our little, yellow bird is not as huge as the eagle the other group have seen, but for me, it’s precious and an honor seeing that little thing. Others may not appreciate it the way I do, but like I’ve said, it’s up to me whether I value it as something or nothing; it’s up to them if they follow suit or not.

            Such a diverse bird community in an urban setting is actually a beautiful, rare thing that you just get to appreciate it. It somehow symbolizes hope amidst the destruction of nature that we don’t have to sacrifice nature for development. It is science and technology working well with society if in society we include all of the living things in the world.

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