Photos: Alaysa Escandor Facebook

Philippines: Bird found lifeless, tied to a fence at UP Diliman
By Aya Tantiangco, 7th January 2016;

Facebook user Alaysa Escandor shared heartbreaking photos of a lifeless bird tied to a fence, spotted at the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman.

The area is home to numerous species and is a go-to spot for birdwatchers.

Escandor noted that the bird, yet to be identified (possibly a cuckoo or bittern) because its face is obscured, has been dead for at least a day. She remarked that it probably died of hunger.

In 2014, the senseless killing of a Black Bittern (Ixobrychus flavicollis) sparked outrage online, especially in the conservationist and bird-watching community. Lu-Ann Bajarias and husband Amado Jr. appealed to the UP Administration to enforce a “no hunting” rule in the campus and stressed the importance of protecting the elusive species that seek refuge in its grounds.

“This is an appeal for clarity on what is allowed. If there was an uproar months back on the cutting of sunflowers along the University Avenue, surely, we can’t only be a handful feeling this strongly about enforcing No Hunting within campus? We talk enough about campuses being among the city’s dwindling green spaces, and how these have become ‘avian sanctuaries’ (regardless of whether this is on paper or not),” she said.

Source: GMA News Online

This is most likely some sort of Cuckoo (F. Cuculidae), although it is difficult to conclusively identify it at the species level unless there are more photos showing other parts of the body.

Lu-Ann and I saw a group of men kill a Black Bittern (Ixobrychus flavicollis) in University of the Philippines Diliman earlier today. Really senseless act of violence. This species is uncommon in the Philippines and extremely rare in the campus (the last documented sighting in the campus that I know of was in 2008). It should be a source of pride for U.P. Diliman that there’s a Black Bittern in its grounds! We reported the killing and showed the photos to two guards. I really hope U.P.’s guards understand that the place is a sanctuary for wildlife, and understand the concept of respecting wildlife. I hope the U.P. leadership does something to protect more effectively the wildlife that seek shelter in its grounds. What a waste of life.

Additional info added 11-10-14: Just to avoid any misconception, the bittern was standing on a muddy part of the lagoon when it was killed by repeated blows to the head with a piece of wood and a jungle bolo. Why a man openly carrying a jungle bolo is allowed to walk around in campus is something that U.P.’s officials should ask its security force. Before it was killed, the bittern may have been already incapacitated in some way, or maybe was exhausted from a long trip, and that’s why it wasn’t able to fly off when the men approached and killed it. This species is usually very wary of humans and would have flown away at the first hint of danger.

Source: Amado Bajarias Jr. Facebook

The University of the Philippines Diliman Lagoon is normally a source of delight for Amado and me, as we fumble to take pictures of kingfishers, parrots, waterhens and more there. We like that it’s not always easy; wildlife needs to stay wild for their sake. Today at 2 pm, however, we were horrified to witness a killing. Three men had been combing the area, collecting crabs, fish, and what they might consider edible. We saw one of the men violently hit something in the water. The sound traveled enough for us to go running, expecting the worst. They held up in pride the elusive Black Bittern (Ixobrychus flavicollis) of U.P. Diliman. Lifeless. Plucked like it was theirs for the taking. Mads tells me that this is an extremely difficult species to find in the campus (status: uncommon) and it was killed just like that. This isn’t a witchhunt. This isn’t about running after the men. Clearly, the men did not feel they were breaking any law. This is an appeal for clarity on what is allowed. If there was an uproar months back on the cutting of sunflowers along the University Avenue, surely, we can’t only be a handful feeling this strongly about enforcing No Hunting within campus? We talk enough about campuses being among the city’s dwindling green spaces, and how these have become “avian sanctuaries” (regardless of whether this is on paper or not). We need to respect birdlife, wildlife, life. And we just happened to be there. If you find yourselves in the same situation, will you please flag a U.P. authority? And, if you feel safe about doing so, take a picture. (We later showed our photos to the U.P. Police and pointed them to the site.) As the men waded into the lagoon, we feared for the White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) and its chicks (which we haven’t seen in a while). Our guess is that they’ve been taken much earlier. I am not ashamed to say that I cried in the car.

Source: Lu-Ann Fuentes-Bajarias Facebook