World Migratory Bird Day | Siay, Zamboanga Sibugay
Twice a year, Zamboanga Sibugay receives an unusual jam of international visitors from as far as the arctic hemisphere — birds! And in a tiny town called Siay, they’re received with so much shebang that they even get their own festival called World Migratory Bird Day!
Yes, these migratory birds are part of the largest avian movement that flies thousands of kilometers to escape the temperatures of the northern hemisphere. They travel half across the globe for food & nesting.
World Migratory Bird Day: Million Mile High
Just how birds can travel this long & far without getting lost is a big puzzle. Scientists say they get their compass information from the sun, stars & the earth’s magnetic field.
Migratory birds navigate through atmospheric paths such as the East Asian-Australasian Flyway crossing over 22 countries. This big feathery delegation flies from Arctic Russia & North America to East Asia down to Australia & New Zealand.
These real-life million milers lifestyle is awesome let alone knowing that they make the Philippines their stopover. But why Zamboanga Sibugay?
There is only one truth to it — this tiny town called Siay has a healthy environment. See, even birds love it here!
Siay is a squeaky-clean town. Rubbish is looked-after by the local government with sincere management. They ban single-use plastics as well as dynamite fishing. Also, they hunt for poachers of wildlife & illegal loggers.
Above everything, their people are taught the importance of saving the earth. From schools to households, the campaign is truly serious.
So Philippines, learn from Siay!
Avian Movement. World Movement.
In the history of bird migration, 2018 is a transition year in uniting all migratory bird flyways. It also declares the 2nd Saturday of May & October as World Migratory Bird Day.
The 1st World Migratory Bird Day celebration in Siay was held last October 12-13. The entire town gathered with one battlecry: Unifying Our Voices for Bird Conservation. In fact, it was so successful that their event made it to the list of birding festivals in the world.
It was truly amazing to find how a small town gives so much frenzy to passing-by birds. There was street dancing, dance-theater shows & a bird costume competition. Then there were art exhibits & yummy seafood fiesta.
But the best part of the festival was the actual bird-watching experience on the Siay-Kabasalan Wetlands.
The trip took us to a maze of lush mangrove park where these birds rest on treetops. Then as we sailed out into Siay Bay, we got our front-row seats to a spectacle of avian rarity.
The World Migratory Bird Day Festival in Siay is more than just merrymaking. It is a validation of good environmental protection practice. And if the rest of the Philippines do so, then we can say after all, there’s hope to make our ecology better.
Now on its final bid to become the 5th Flyway Network Site in the country, Siay is also inching its way to become a wonderful eco-tourism destination to watch out for. Mabuhay, Siay!