Aside from Koronadal City, there were also previous reports of barn swallow migration in some other places in the country like in Batangas City and Davao del Norte in 2014, Zamboanga City in 2013 and some other cities and provinces in the Philippines.
“The barn swallows came to Koronadal City as refugees from foreign lands. As Filipinos who are known for hospitality, we must be hospitable enough to provide a safe home to these wild birds,” For. Sidic said.
Forester Sidic allayed the fears of some residents that the barn swallows might bring in diseases like bird flu. The birds travelled several miles before reaching the Philippines. A sick bird that travels for months will most likely die along the way before reaching its destination, hence the possibility for barn swallows to bring bird flu is nil. However, this does not prevent the Anti-Bird Flu Task Force to closely monitor the birds.
Further, one of the problems encountered by Koronadal City residents is the proliferation of unsanitary bird droppings and the alleged damage to a transformer attributed to the birds. This prompted the Provincial Development Council of South Cotabato to request the DENR to make a presentation regarding barn swallows in one of their meetings.
Considering the urgency of the situation, the bird count was conducted by the DENR. It was also made part of the celebration of World Wildlife Day on March 3, 2019 with the theme “Life below water: for People and Planet”, with a twist.
When asked what is so special in Koronadal City for having been the choice of the barn swallows for their temporary home, Forester Sidic said that the city is relatively safe from bird predators coupled with the city’s warm weather and the abundance of insects as food for the birds in nearby areas, are the probable reasons. In effect, barn swallows provide an effective biological control for insects like flies, beetles and other flying insects.
Moreover, barn swallows are not considered as endangered species but their population is observed to be declining. Hence, they are included under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 which prohibits disturbing the birds, their nest, or their eggs. (Source: https://www.nps.gov). (MCLocsin/DENR PENRO South Cotabato).