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September, 27, 2016

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Spoonbill conservation event to begin in Tainan

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- With wintering black-faced spoonbills having already been spotted on Taiwan's southwestern coast this year, the Tainan city government has organized a two-month conservation event to raise public awareness about the protection of the endangered bird.

The 2016 Black-faced Spoonbill Conservation Season will kick off at the Xuejia Wetland Eco Park in the southern Taiwan city Sept. 25, according to the Tainan Agriculture Bureau, which planned the event along with the Tainan Biological Conservation Society, a local civic group.

The event's theme will be "beach clean-up, comfort and safety," under which, visitors to the wetland will be asked to keep the area clean so that the migratory birds can have a safe place to spend the winter, said the organizers.

The black-faced spoonbills migrate south from the Korean peninsula around the time of the Mid-Autumn Festival every year to find warmer places to spend the winter, and Taiwan is one of the destinations.

In 2011, black-faced spoonbills were spotted at the Xuejia Wetland for the first time. Since then, the population wintering there has been between 200 to 300 heads each year, according to Tainan Biological Conservation Society head Chiu Jen-wu.

A high of 428 black-faced spoonbills were recorded at the wetland in 2013, making it the third-largest wintering area for the bird in Tainan, Chiu said.

So far, 54 black-faced spoonbills have arrived in the coastal area of Tainan since Sept. 18, when two of them were seen by local birders. They are believed to be the first to arrive in the city to spend the winter this year, the society said.

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