Provincial government intensifies guard on migrant birds in Paoay Lake

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The Provincial Veterinary Office of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte along with local bird watchers continues to monitor the migratory birds that flock at the Paoay Lake National Park in Paoay, Ilocos Norte.

According to Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Loida Valenzuela, ‘the monitoring of the migratory birds is important since we can devise preventive measures for any possible disturbance which may cause these great birds not to show up again in Paoay Lake.’

A group of birdwatchers observing at the Paoay Lake National Park in Paoay, Ilocos Norte. The lake is home to different migratory birds such as the great cormorant, grey heron, and zebra doves from eastern Russia and China, Korea, and Japan.

Every year migrant birds from eastern Russia, eastern China, Korea and Japan such as the great cormorant, grey heron, and zebra dove frequents at the lake particularly in the month of April depending upon the weather condition.

Apart from constant monitoring, the veterinary office also makes sure that the migratory birds will not fall short of their natural food sources from the lake.

“Gov. Imee R. Marcos’ directive is for us to protect these birds since bird watching at the Paoay Lake has been one of the tourist attractions in the province,” Valenzuela added.

The birds that migrate to warm places like the Paoay Lake troop in the Philippines when the food supply or fish in the lakes and rivers where they come from are scarce because of the frozen water surfaces during winter.

“The presence of these great birds is a blessing because not all wetlands such as the Paoay Lake are visited by migratory birds. It means that the lake is bountiful, its water and environment are clean,” Valenzuela beamed.

Recently, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and PGIN- PVet lead some local birdwatchers and photographers at the Paoay Lake for the yearly Asian Waterbird Census. The activity is a synchronized survey with the other wetland census in other parts of the Philippines and other countries in Asia during the mid-winter migration period.

The Paoay Lake National Park is one of the initial components of the National Integrated Protected Areas System in accordance with Republic Act 7586 (NIPAS Act). It covers 387.5 hectares with five barangays in Paoay sharing its coastline where migratory birds find natural habitat in the months of April to August and November to December. (Florante A. Nicolas, PGIN- CMO)

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