Mon, Oct 22, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Black-faced spoonbills arriving in unusual numbers

Staff writer, with CNA

An unusually large number of black-faced spoonbills have been migrating to the wetlands in Greater Tainan this year, said a report released yesterday by Taijiang National Park.

The report showed that more than 350 black-faced spoonbills have migrated to the southern Taiwan wetlands so far this year, compared with an average of 100 in the same period in recent years.

The birds began arriving early last month, which is unusual, the report said.

Typically, the migration starts after September, with the largest flocks arriving in Taiwan between late November and the middle of December, it added.

Park officials said the spoonbills’ early arrival and larger numbers may be linked to changes in the weather and conservation areas between North Korea and South Korea, one of the birds’ habitats and migration sites.

However, the reasons for the early migration will become clearer after the global census of black-faced spoonbills is released in January, they said.

The black-faced spoonbill is a large, wading bird with a worldwide population of approximately 2,000, which means it is considered on the verge of extinction. It winters mostly in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, the Philippines and China.

Taiwan is the most important migration site for the endangered birds, with 50 percent of them flying to Greater Tainan, Greater Kaohsiung and Chiayi County each year.

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