Residents of Anching Village (安靖) in Chiayi County’s Meishan Township (梅山) are making a documentary about a pair of crested goshawks that has nested near the town, and the villagers have also started volunteer patrols in the hope that the birds will stay in the area and boost the township’s tourist appeal, which currently centers on hand-crafted bamboo products.
Anching Village is well known for its woven bamboo products, but these did not become a tourist attraction until plastic products began to replace items traditionally made from woven bamboo.
The efforts to promote the village’s bamboo weaving tradition, as well as its ancient trails and 300-year-old plum tree as tourist hotspots coincided with the implementation of government policies to promote domestic travel, and had instant success.
However, the village faced problems after Typhoon Morakot in 2009, during which the plum tree died and ancient trails were damaged by the torrential rain brought on by the typhoon, locals said.
As a result, villagers were forced to return to their traditional trade of bamboo weaving, as it was the only remaining tourist attraction, while also trying to maintain the soil around the village.
According to the community’s development association secretary-general Lo Ching-chou (羅清洲), villagers first noticed the crested goshawks building their nest in one of the camphor trees in the village in September, and soon after other villagers noticed that there were four young goshawks in the nest.
“We started community patrols around the camphor tree because we feared someone would try to capture the goshawks and their young,” Lo said, adding that under the care of the community the goshawks have grown and are learning how to fly.
“The goshawks nesting in the area is proof our soil conservation and ecological maintenance efforts have paid off,” Lo said, adding that the forests in the area have always been a nesting ground for goshawks, but the number of birds has been steadily decreasing over the past decades.
“We hope to emulate Zhuqi Township’s (竹崎) Kengtou Village (坑頭), which nurtured their Formosan blue magpie population to greater numbers, and we hope to make the crested goshawks one of the symbols of Anching Village,” Lo said, adding that the village has made a documentary of how the goshawk younglings have grown.