In Sto. Tomas town, ‘layang-layang’ offers distraction than attraction

Nov. 28, 2014

STO. TOMAS, Davao del Norte—Thousands of barn swallow, a migratory bird, locally known as “layang-layang” have found their way home in this rustic town as they perched on kilometer-long power lines and tall buildings.

The birds, flying in thousands, attract passersby and curious onlookers because of their sheer volume; but their presence here is not—for some— necessarily welcome.

Some residents here said would rather consider their presence a distraction than attraction.

Juan Cantos, 26, a resident here, told DavaoToday that the birds are causing a mess already because of their “poop spilled on the streets, rooftops and other structures”.

“It [birds poop] smells bad and very unpleasing to one’s sight,” complained Cantos, adding that “it’s hard to clean since it sticks well on the ground”.

Cantos said that at first he was attracted by the queer formation of the birds perched on power lines but later on he got distracted.

“Commuters and motorists are getting distracted. They fly over in thousands each day at sunset. The upper room of our house was invaded already by these migratory birds,” said Cantos.

Each day at 5:00 pm, these birds could be seen from Feeder Road #1 up to Feeder Road #3 and in the Sto. Tomas Public Market where they perched in neat rows like “rosary beads” along power cables.

“It’s a sight to behold,” another resident said Gloria Madulara, 65, but according to her, “people are impelled to regularly clean the birds’ droppings every day.”

Despite the seeming “nuisance” of the birds, Madulara said that “residents should never hurt the birds because they are protected by our law”.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) reported that last year there are 13,404 migratory birds which flocked to the Davao region.

DENR’s Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau said barn swallow (Hirundo rustica), a migratory bird species, can be seen early June to early March and are indigenous to other countries.

The agency said that Philippines is one of the major migratory pathways where barn swallows usually migrated to avoid the extreme cold temperature from there place of origin. (

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