Tarat (Lanius cristatus lucionensis) is a common migratory bird, the arrival of which signals the end of the monsoon season and the coming of the North Wind known as Amian. Farmers revere the Tarat because they come just in time to end the once common locusts infestations that plagued Indûng Kapampángan, thus saving the October rice harvests. Kapampangan Catholics identify the Tarat to Ápûng Kulas (Saint Nicholas) because their arrival often coincides with the feast of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino on September 10. The period between the second week of September to the second week of October is therefore known to several farmers as Búlan da ring Tarat (the month of the Tarat).

A number of families living in the Pinak and the Maúlî regions venerate the Tarat as a family totem. Legend has it that the usually noisy Tarat protected their families hiding from the raiding forces of the Spanish, American, Japanese and Philippine government by continuing to be loud and noisy. Ordinary birds remain silent and still when humans are nearby.

Image source:

Kennedy, Robert S., Gonzales, Pedro C., Dickinson, Edward, et al. (2000). A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines. New York, USA: Oxford University Press.

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