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April 12, 2021

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Birds flocking in big numbers as ecology boosted

Shanghai is home to an increasing number of birds thanks to its improved ecological environment, local greenery authorities said yesterday, during the opening ceremony of the city’s 40th Bird Preservation Week.

It is estimated that about 700,000 birds have been dwelling or migrated to the city since winter. About 300,000 were seen in Nanhui Dongtan area in the Pudong New Area, one of the city’s wildlife sanctuaries, compared with 100,000 from the same period a year earlier, according to the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau.

These include migratory bird species first seen in the city, such as the ryukyu minivet endemic to Japan, and the collared owlet, said Yuan Xiao, an official of the bureau’s wildlife and plant preservation department.

The former were spotted in Nanhui Dongtan and Shanghai Botanical Garden in winter and the latter was seen in Nanhui Dongtan in early spring, according to Yuan.

“There are combined factors that make Shanghai a popular nesting habitat or migratory stop for birds,” said Yuan.

“The expansion of the city’s greenery and forest spaces year on year has enlarged their nesting habitats, the warm climate and adequate food, and intensified crackdown on illegal hunting, have all led to growing number of birds in the city and longer lingering time.”

The colder weather in China’s north this winter also made many migratory birds change their routes, said Yuan.

“Moreover, environmental remediation projects conducted in areas such as Nanhui Dongtan involving 24 square kilometers of space provide more preferable environment for their living in the wild,” Yuan noted.

Some migratory birds now live in the city, nesting and laying eggs here. For example, egret and night heron, which were migratory birds, can be seen year round now, Yuan added.

Shanghai has documented 506 avian species, including light-vented bulbul and hooded crane so far.

“The city has also stepped up efforts to protect these avian friends such as establishing a monitoring network of illegal hunting and taking injured wildlife to relevant facilities such as the Shanghai Zoo,” said Ji Lei, an official with the Shanghai Forestry Station.

The 40th Bird Preservation Week will run through April 18, comprising a variety of activities both online and offline such as a bird observation event at Century Park and bird-related games online to raise awareness of bird protection.

The Reed parrotbill and egret are the two mascots of the event this year.

The city has designated six wildlife sanctuaries where hunting of wildlife is banned. People will face fines or criminal charges in serious cases.

Shanghai’s forest coverage amounted to 18.49 percent by the end of last year, and the number of city parks had reached 400 by that time. It had another seven countryside parks, plus 11 nature reserves and 20 wildlife habitats.


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