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Nationwide bird census to be conducted after the New Year

TAIPEI -- A nationwide bird survey will be conducted around New Year's Day to both celebrate the new year and raise public awareness of wildlife protection, according to the Chinese Wild Bird Federation (CWBF).

The first of its kind in Taiwan since 1983, the survey will involve universities, civic groups and over 20 local bird associations that will set up more than 100 observation sites covering about 8.6 percent of Taiwan proper, said CWBF campaigner Allen Lyu.

Lyu said the census will take place between Dec. 28 and Jan. 12 — and will ask volunteers to record bird species they spot for at least six hours in a row during a day within the sites, each measuring three kilometers in radius.

A database on bird populations will be built based on the findings so that follow-up investigations in years to come can be made possible, Lyu said.

Through periodic documentation, conservationists can better understand the birds' living environments and draw up better protection plans, he said.

It is also hoped that the idea of citizen science, which relies on public participation in scientific research, can be implemented through a fun family activity, according to Lyu.

“We need the public to back up this project because there is only a limited number of researchers,” he said.

According to the CWBF, the concept for the survey came from the Christmas Bird Count in North America, in which nature lovers are asked to identify as many bird species as they can from mid-December to early January.

Taiwan used to hold new year bird counts between 1974 and 1983, but the activity was suspended, the federation said.

Those interested can find out more at

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