'Birdathon' hopes birdwatchers will flock to Southern Taiwan
CNATAIPEI -- Southern Taiwan is gearing up for a different kind of migration event to go hand-in-hand with the seasonal movement of bird populations: the gathering of dozens of avid birdwatchers from all over the world for the Birdathon contest.
September 25, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
Tainan and the southern counties of Yunlin and Chiayi are holding the marathon-like birding competition, now in its second year, to raise awareness of Taiwan's natural environment and to boost ecotourism.
Birders will have 30 hours to spot as many species as they can find over a 5,400 square kilometer area that includes a range of different terrains, according to the Administration of Southwest Coast National Scenic Area.
Planning will be essential as teams scramble to get from the mountains of Alishan to the coastal Budai Salt Pan Wetlands and other locales, said the Taiwan Ecotourism Association, the event's co-organizer.
The trek will be worth it, organizers say, because the birders will have a chance at spotting the endangered black-faced spoonbill, a migratory bird that makes a home in Taiwan between October and April.
The event kicks off at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 19. Fourteen teams have signed up so far.
Last year's inaugural Birdathon saw 22 teams from countries including the U.S., South Africa and Japan who managed to spot a total of 264 bird species.
Registration information can be found at http://en.taiwanbirdathon.org.