Author: James Z. Carpio
If you go to the Plaza Quince Martires before the morning breaks you will be in for a pleasant surprise. There are a few lush trees as tall as the re-conceptualized building right across the street. Well ahead of the early dawn mass at the San Francisco Church you will be enthralled by the performance of winged creatures of God’s masterpiece: Nature at its best.
It is a joyous melody, a testament to the glory of God’s creation. About a hundred or more birds chirp and sing in unison like music to the ears. They converge in the inner sanctum of the foliage and sometimes fly to the nearby trees. I feel one with nature– a pilgrim in this magnificence we call life.
I linger for a few moments just to listen to their songs of praise and to soak in their presence. With their ability to fly, they are the next best things to angels. They are ethereal beings as they soar in the heavens. The sky doesn’t seem so vast with birds flying in it. I look forward to the next day or two to experience what seems to be a celestial phenomenon.
Next stop is the Metropolitan Cathedral Grounds. I enjoy seeing the doves that call the holy place their home. Their different colors evoke amusement at the variety of these domesticated birds. They fly in groups and perch on lamp post wires and grace the patio like decorative artistic silhouettes. And when rays of the sun touch their bodies, a prism of glittering lights shines as they flutter their vibrant wings.
I especially like the white doves that remind me of the biblical reference to the Holy Spirit. Somehow, I feel a calming, soothing energy whenever I gaze upon their immaculate white feathers. Truly soul enriching. This reminds me that we are stewards and caretakers of Mother Earth.
For a long time, I have only seen sparrows and the local ‘dignus’ while growing up here in my hometown. Except for a raven that I saw in the backyard of our house when I was in high school, I have seen a variety of birds like love birds and macaws but those are pets. I am referring to wild birds: The ones that pepper the sky while they are in flight. Usually, their colors are plain brown, black, with silver beaks.
But in recent years, I was surprised to see a growing variety of wild birds, particularly the ones that honor us with their frequent visits to our gardens.
I have seen spotted neck doves. They are a smaller version of the all too familiar regular doves. They usually come in pairs. And they like to hop on the field at the back of our house, pecking at insects, seeds, or worms.
There is also a bird with black and white colored wings that I saw dancing to impress a potential mate. The female is brown, devoid of the fan-like adorned wings of its male counterpart. What a sight to behold! It manifests the magnificence of courtship that eventually leads to the miracles of life.
A yellow-breasted bird variety is another one of our guests in the early morning. It is a little plump and looks jovial. It is a solitary bird and likes to perch on the branches of the trees. It glides when flying from one point to another and disappears into the horizon.
For the finale, I present to you the amazing Island Verditer Flycatcher. It is a medium- sized bird. I have only seen one in pictures of books or in the movies. So the first time I saw one, I was captivated and literally starstruck. It is a blue bird. It is mostly blue with varying shades. It has a wondrous appeal. It is so regal and royal that it is a perfect fit for a palace. And this is just the urban jungle we are talking about, what more awaits in the forests of nearby Mount Isarog. Now I am proud to recommend Naga City as an ornithologist’s paradise. Welcome to the viewing deck of an open-air, expansive, wire mesh-free aviary.