Chinese sparrowhawk migration numbers set record high

Pingtung,  The number of Chinese sparrowhawks migrating over the Hengchun Peninsula in southern Taiwan has hit a record high for the second consecutive year, according to a recent survey conducted by the Raptor Research Group of Taiwan.

The survey, which Kenting National Park Headquarters has commissioned since 1988, recorded 258,132 of the raptors between Sept. 1 and Oct. 4 this year, breaking the previous high of 257,700 set in 2019.

In terms of daily totals, this year’s peak of 71,608 birds observed on Sept. 19 also broke the previous record of 70,018 set on Sept. 16, 2017, according to the survey results.

According to Tsai Yi-jung (蔡乙榮), a bird enthusiast and former employee of the park headquarters, the Chinese sparrowhawks’ migration season is already winding down, while that of another widely watched species, the grey-faced buzzard, is just getting started, with around 600 observed to date this season.

The number of migrating grey-faced buzzards is expected to peak in mid-October, when several thousand of the birds will pass through the area daily, with seasonal totals possibly exceeding 70,000, Tsai said.

One of the highlights of the grey-faced buzzard migration is watching flocks of the birds circling in formation before settling to roost for the night, Tsai said, adding that Lide Village in Pingtung’s Manjhou Township is considered the best place for viewing this phenomenon.

In 2019, the survey recorded an all-time high of 70,442 grey-faced buzzards migrating through the area.

At the time, Tsai attributed the huge numbers to the fact that no typhoons had hit the area during the migratory season, as well as to successful conservation efforts that have resulted in steadily increasing migration numbers in recent years.


Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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