The 20,000 egrets and heron in Baras Bird Sanctuary greeted at least 500 local tourists from all over the region during Tacurong City’s 1st Bird Festival on May 9-10, 2015.

Tacurong City Bird Festival is the third local bird festival that sprung from the Philippine Bird Festival of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines or WBCP. The first was in Balanga in Bataan and the second was in Zamboanga City.

The local bird festival was driven by the theme: Be Aware! I love and protect birds and nature. The celebration emphasized on protection and preservation of the birds and their natural habitat.

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“With this festival, we aim to promote tourism and environment conservation at the same time,” said Mayor Lina O. Montilla.

The bird festival featured various activities such as forums on Philippine Birds, eco-tourism, and biodiversity conservation; photo exhibit; photo blogging contest; bird watching; face painting; origami; and wooden bird painting.

“Napakapalad ng Tacurong dahil meron sila nito [bird sanctuary]. Ang mga ibon may saganang pinagkukunan ng pagkain at wala silang nararamdamang panganib. Kahit madami tayo ngayon dito, hindi sila natatakot dahil alam nilang hindi natin sila sasaktan,” said Ms. Tinggay Cinco of WBCP during a guided tour in Baras Bird Sanctuary.

Among the bird species that can be found in Baras Bird Sanctuary are the Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Intermediate Egret, White-collared Kingfisher, Emerald Dove, Hawk, Eurasian Sparrow, Javan Pond Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Variable Dwarf-kingfisher, Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Rusty-breasted Cuckoo, Magpie Robin, Pied Fantail, Glossy Ibis, Black-naped Monarch, Rofous Night Heron and Ruddy Kingfisher.

“We will definitely help Tacurong identify more birds in this sanctuary, and even in the city,” Cinco added.
According to DOT Regional Director Nelly Nita Dillera, it is important to spread the word about this bird watching destination. “We want more people to know about Baras Bird Sanctuary. Aside from boosting Tacurong’s tourism, it is also a way to encourage people to care for the environment,” said Dillera.

Tacurong’s Bird Festival was spearheaded by the City Government of Tacurong in partnership with the WBCP, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Department of Tourism (DOT) XII.
Festival sponsors by Sultan Kudarat Water District, Sultan Kudarat Electric Cooperative, Monte Vicenteau, Rotaract Club of Talakudong, and Notre Dame of Tacurong College. (LGU-Tacurong City Information)