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May 13, 2014

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Birdwatchers get special place to hide

BIRDWATCHERS and photographers in Shanghai will soon be able to visit the city’s first official hide at Gongqing Forest Park, the Oriental Morning Post reported yesterday.

“The park is one of the best places in Shanghai for birdwatching, so it was an obvious choice,” said Yuan Xiao, deputy director of the Shanghai Wildlife Protection Office.

Since 2005, 108 different types of bird, including many rare species, have been spotted in the park, according to a survey by the protection office.

The study was launched in 2005 and initially covered 18 urban parks. However, after two years it became clear that only four had significant bird numbers, Yuan said.

As well as Gongqing, the others are Shanghai Botanical Garden, Century Park and Daning Lingshi Park, he said.

“Generally speaking, the fewer the people the more wild animals you find,” he said.

“There are almost no birds in urban parks these days as there are too many people and too much noise.

“But at Gongqing Forest Park there are very few visitors so the birds love it. It also has a rich habitat, including lots of natural food sources,” Yuan said.

While 80 percent of the birds in Shanghai’s parks are resident species like sparrows, blackbirds and azure-winged magpies, there are also lots of interesting migrants, like the pale thrush, Naumann’s thrush and the hawfinch.

Most of these arrive in the late fall and early winter and stay until the early spring.


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