Thursday, May 28, 2015

Philippines: "Birds of IRRI" takes flight

Photo exhibit tour continues until June 

Avian enthusiasts are in for a real treat as birds found in the rice fields of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) are showcased  in a spectacular photo exhibit entitled Feathers in the Fields: The Birds of IRRI.  IRRI, together with the National Commission for Culture and Arts and the Filipino Heritage Festivals, launched the traveling exhibit at The Gallery, Greenbelt 5, in Makati City on May 6 in celebration of the National Heritage Month.

Feathers in the Fields: Birds of IRRI,  featuring stunning photos taken by renowned photographers Segfredo Serrano and Tirso Paris, was originally unveiled at the Riceworld Museum at the IRRI headquarters. The exhibit was meant to help people understand that not all birds found in rice fields are pests.

“Our research indicates that these birds contribute to maintaining a healthy rice crop by consuming large numbers of insects and snails thereby regulating pest population,” said Finbarr Horgan, an ecologist at IRRI.

But the presence of numerous birds species also indicates a healthy rice ecosystem that provides them with an ideal habitat.  “The ecologically-based management of rice fields at IRRI has been rewarded by a multitude of farmer-friendly birds,” said Dr. Horgan. “Recently, large numbers of rails and moorhens have successfully reproduced at IRRI, an indication perhaps of the success of IRRI’s focus on environment-friendly agriculture. This is just the start, and hopefully continuing efforts will invite even more birds to make IRRI’s rice fields their home.”

The exhibit is now on display at SM Calamba until 29 May. It will be available for viewing at the Makati City Hall starting 8 June.

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