Fri, Sep 13, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Central Weather Bureau collaborates with researchers and birdwatchers

ENRAPTURED:A Kenting park attracts more than 100,000 goshawks and buzzards every fall. Now, with weather bureau radar, birdwatchers can track them

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Thanks to the Kenting National Park’s raptor detection system, birdwatchers in southern parts of the country will now be able to keep track of raptor movements, the Central Weather Bureau said.

The system was built to help record the appearance of birds of prey in Sheding Nature Park in Kenting, which attracts about 110,000 of them in the fall each year.

According to the bureau, the birds have been descending on the park for about eight years. The majority are Chinese goshawks; gray-faced buzzards are the next most common.

The bureau’s technology research center director Cheng Chia-ping (程家平) said the system was developed by researchers from Chung Jung Christian University and National Central University.

The bureau became involved in the project because the system needs the bureau’s radars in Kenting to gather the data.

“The system is designed to be able to separate signals of the birds of prey on the radar from those of rain and clouds,” Cheng said.

Cheng said that the radar can detect the Chinese goshawks or other birds of prey when there is a large number of them together. The system filters the signals from rain, clouds and from other sources to identify the signals of the birds, he said.

According to Cheng, the radar can detect raptors when they are 300km to 400km away.

This feature can give birdwatchers a better idea of where the birds might be at any moment, he said.

“Without this information, they would have to choose a place and wait to see if the birds would appear, which may or may not happen,” he added.

Aside from the radar in Kenting, the bureau has a radar in Cigu (七股) in Greater Tainan, which can also be used to detect the birds, Cheng said.

In other developments, people may not be able to watch a bright, full moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday due to the influence of a low air pressure system as well as the tropical depression near Guam, the bureau said.

The bureau forecast that the weather next week will be unstable due to the influence of a low air pressure system, adding there might be a tropical disturbance as well.

The bureau said a tropical depression near Guam could intensify into a tropical storm, forecasting it could head to Japan after it is formed.

However, there remains a slight chance that it could move southeast toward Taiwan.

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