Taipei, May 1 (CNA) The numbers of two species of migratory raptors flying back northward via Kenting to breed have set new highs, a specialist at the Kenting National Park has reported.
Tsai Yi-rong said that each autumn, gray-faced buzzards and Chinese goshawks migrate from the north and pass through Kenting on their way south to spend the winter months, creating a focus for birdwatchers.
The park has been observing the two species for more than 20 years and has accumulated substantial data on them.
The raptors return from their wintering grounds in Southeast Asia to their breeding areas in more northern latitudes in the spring. In the past, they have usually passed through Paguashan in Changhua County or hilly areas of Fengshan in Kaohsiung, but numbers recorded in those areas this year have been lower, which Tsai attributed to habitat destruction and poor weather conditions.
Tsai said that as of April 29, 22,406 gray-faced buzzards passed through Kenting, surpassing the 16,841 recorded in 2010, while 36,474 Chinese goshawks passed through Kenting, only 96 fewer than the previous record of 36,570 recorded last year.
The following day, however, more than 1,000 of the birds passed through the area, ensuring a record high.
Tsai noted that the birds usually pass through Kenting in March, but said that the migration this year was extended to the end of April, possibly due to heavy rain and low temperatures in recent days.
(By Kao Chu-chen and Lilian Wu)