TAIPEI (CNA) — A migratory bird count commissioned by Kenting National Park Headquarters has recorded 31-year highs in the number of both Chinese sparrowhawks and grey-faced buzzards.
Unofficial results from the survey, which ran from the beginning of September to the end of October, tallied a total of 257,711 Chinese sparrowhawks and 70,442 grey-faced buzzards.
The Chinese sparrowhawk count surpassed a 2004 record of 220,000 birds, while the number of grey-faced buzzards topped the record 59,000 set last year.
The survey also tracked a number of other raptor species, including the crested honey buzzard, Japanese sparrowhawk, and common kestrel, which pass through southern Taiwan on their autumn migrations to Southeast Asia.
The count was conducted by Tsai I-jung (蔡乙榮), a retired Kenting National Park Headquarters technician, who has participated in the annual survey since it began 31 years ago.
According to Tsai, the count required him to arrive at Skyward Pavilion, the highest point in Sheding Nature Park, at 5:00 a.m. daily.
This year’s record-breaking numbers have been attributed to the fact that no typhoons hit the area during the migratory season, as well as conservation efforts, which have resulted in steadily increasing migration numbers in recent years, Tsai said.
By Kuo Chih-hsuan and Matthew Mazzetta