MANILA, Philippines - Birds escaping the severe cold weather in Southeast Asia and the Americas are invading a town in Davao del Norte.
Jonathan Diretso, a resident of Santo Tomas town, said the birds started arriving last August.
"Mga Agosto bigla na lang silang dumating dito. Noong simula konti lang pero dumami nang dumami," Diretso said.
Residents said the birds fly over the town in thousands and stay on electric wires starting 5 p.m. daily.
Some residents plainly see the phenomenon as a once in a lifetime spectacle and some believe the birds' unusual migration to their town is a sign of luck.
The residents initially thought that the birds are the famous cave swiftlets, which is known locally as balinsasayaw . The birds' nests are built from threads of saliva, which are collected for the famous bird's nest soup.
Nilo Rivera of the environment department's Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau said the town's invaders are barn swallows.
Rivera said barn swallows originate from Southeast Asia and South America. These birds like to hang out on wires, roof bridges and in human populated areas.
He said that the severe cold weather in their countries of origin could have forced the birds to look for temporary breeding grounds.
"Migrant birds sila galing South America, Southeast Asia. Umiwas sila sa cold front na tinatawag natin," Rivera said.
He expects the birds to leave Santo Tomas once the weather stabilizes. – Report from Francis Magbanua, ABS-CBN Southern Mindanao