A little tern tracked by a group of Taiwanese ornithologists was spotted in Queensland, Australia, earlier this month, marking the first time a little tern tagged by the group has been found overseas, the Yilan County Wild Bird Organization has said.
The organization’s director-general, Hu Lin-chih (胡林志), said researchers released 53 little terns this summer after tagging them with tracking numbers at the Lanyang Estuary Waterbird Refuge.
The bird found in Queensland was tagged as No. 9. Having covered an estimated 10,000km, it was the first little tern tagged in Yilan that has been confirmed as crossing the Pacific Ocean for the winter, Hu said.
Over the years, researchers have released several little terns — which are listed as rare protected animals — but they either went missing or died after leaving the nation, Hu said.
The organization has cooperated with National Taiwan University and National Yilan University over the past three years to monitor the protected birds at the Lanyang Estuary Waterbird Refuge, Hu said.
More than 4,000 little terns can be found in the area each year, and their numbers are gradually increasing, he said.