Vincent J. Celeste

Discover Philippines’ Rare Birding Encounter in the City of Goodwill Tacurong

One might think how can a city keep a natural sanctuary of endemic and migratory birds. One might wonder how can you find rare kinds of uncaged birds and yet you will be able to see them freely coming from and going to the place called Baras Bird Sanctuary. It is a rare experience that you don’t have to travel further to the jungles and marshlands just to see a densely populated place by different species of birds and have an awesome birding encounter. What made me say that?

How Did It Start

The place has become a natural bird sanctuary since 1990s when the population and variety of birds coming in to the area grew. The migratory birds were recorded to be as many as four and increased in number every year.

It is now a place of refuge for more than twenty thousand endemic and migratory birds that provides memorable experience communing with nature. It’s not a usual avian park where birds like herons and egrets just come and go freely.

The Firsthand Experience

Meeting Mr. Rey Malana, the  owner of the smaller than two-hectare former black-pepper plantation and Tinggay Cinco, one of the officers of Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP), was an opportunity to be oriented and be inspired with what we have at Baras Bird Sanctuary during the first day of the organized 1st Bird Festival. A walking-tour brings you the firsthand intimate communion with the birds.

This year Tacurong City has now the reason to celebrate life with this rare opportunity to be one of the sanctuaries of endemic and migratory birds. The two-day First Bird Festival #1stBirdFestival celebrated from May 9 to 10, 2015,  is one way of acknowledging the importance of Baras Birds Sanctuary. With the theme, Be Aware! I love and protect birds and nature,” the festival invites everyone to experience and appreciate the gift of nature and the creations in it thru various activities such as forum on Philippine birds, Eco-tourism, birdwatching with tour guide and other exciting events prepared by the Tacurong City local government unit.

The List

Birds at the sanctuary are free, not caged, not controlled. It is amazing to see these birds hovering, flying from one tree to another. It is common to see herons and egrets but added to that are several bird species can also be found. These are 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, great egret, rofous night heron and ruddy kingfisher, and more!

The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) people come the place from time to time for ocular visits doing observations and recordings. They help educate people by naming and describing the different bird species found at the sanctuary.

How to get there

It won’t be difficult to locate Baras Bird Sanctuary since it is located just within the locality of Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat. You may coordinated with LGU by calling 064 200 6682; 064 477 0138; 064 562 0175 and ask to be connected to the Tourism Office. They will be able to guide you with your itinerary to your destination and help you find nice and affordable accommodations within the city. Tacurong is just an about hour and a half land trip from General Santos City and about three to four hours from Davao City.

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