Ornithologists from Taiwan and South Korea recently collaborated for the first time on a study of black-faced spoonbills, an endangered migratory bird species that travels between the two countries each year, Taijiang National Park Headquarters in Greater Tainan said yesterday.
Earlier this month, National Taiwan Normal University professor Wang Ying (王穎) and Taijiang National Park Headquarters director Leu Teng-yuan (呂登元) flew to South Korea to join local and Japanese groups in a visit to an islet off the country’s west coast, a known spoonbill breeding area, a park official said.
During the visit, the Taiwanese experts helped to attach a satellite transmitter to a young bird in order to learn more about spoonbill migratory patterns, the official added.
The visit was part of a program launched by Taijiang National Park, a major habitat for the bird during its winter stay in Taiwan, to track the endangered birds.
The program was initiated against the backdrop of a report claiming a 27 percent decline in the birds’ global population last year, park officials said, adding that the Greater Tainan area saw a 34 percent decrease in the number of birds that migrated there last year.
In March, a Taiwanese research team attached wireless transmitters to four birds and satellite transmitters to another two in April. The wireless transmitters can track the birds in Taiwan, while the satellite transmitters make it possible to follow them further afield, in areas such as Hong Kong, the Philippines and Vietnam.
The park also hopes to extend its program to Chongming Dongtan Bird Nature Reserve in Shanghai, which signed a collaboration agreement on spoonbill research with the park last month.
Published in January last year, the annual spoonbill report ranked Taiwan as the most important migratory location for the species during the winter.