Easy bird watching at Tacurong City’s Baras Bird Sanctuary
I use to hike and travel somewhere else just to experience outdoors and sometimes go birdwatching. Before summer of last year, I’m completely ignorant of this city’s unique bird eco-sanctuary. Until last summer…
When me and Joy decided to go to Baras Bird Sanctuary with kids Russel and Rain for some outdoor photo fun, we were all in awe of the sheer number and quality of birds in the sanctuary. Bird species like the great egrets and intermediate egret as well as the rufus and night herons dwell or pass here. Some endangered and rarely seen bird species are also reportedly seen here. So how did this 2 hectare of previously peppercorn growing farm by the Banga River bloomed into an enormous rich ecosystem for migrating birds from all over asia?
According to Mr. Rey Malana the owner of this private farm, it all started one morning in February 1996 when he noticed a group of heron perched on a rambutan tree inside his peppercorn farm. The birds stayed until sundown then flew away only to come back the next morning bringing along “new recruits” that steadily grew in numbers. Since then 15,000 sq. meters once peppercorn farm played host to a growing number of migratory birds which were thought to come from as far as Korea and Japan and some other parts of Asia. The number of birds that’s been in this sanctuary is estimated to be 20,000.
What happened to the peppercorn? “Gone”. “The pepper farm couldn’t sustain the growing number of birds in the sanctuary”‘. “Same with the coffee trees and the other tree species that are being used by the birds as their nesting grounds and hatching”. Located on the side of Banga river and sandwiched between hectares of rice fields, the sanctuary is perfect for stop overs of migrating birds.
“Our main problem now is bird poaching” recounted one of the sanctuary guards I’ve talked to. “Some poachers are even bold enough to approach the fenced sanctuary and shoot birds in close range. These poachers then escape by swimming across the Banga River to the other side of the river bank where they go scot free. One of the guards here was even shot by an airgun by one poacher when he tried apprehending them” added the guard.
This Baras Bird Sanctuary is currently being maintained and supported by the local government of Tacurong City. To go to this sanctuary, you can coordinate with the city’s tourism office, or ride a tricycle from the city to Brgy. Baras and then ask directions from the friendly people there. The sacntuary is some 7KM away from the city’s center.