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Published Date:2017-04-26

Kinmen National Park Creates Friendly Environment for Bird Viewing to Welcome Blue-Tailed Bee-Eaters

The blue-tailed bee-eater is an iconic summer visitor in Kinmen with no distribution in Taiwan. Every year in April, the bee-eaters flock to Kinmen and burrow nests for breeding. Starting in 2015, Professor Yuan Hsiao-Wei of the School of Forestry and Resource Conservation, National Taiwan University was commissioned by Kinmen National Park to conduct a two-year investigation on the migration and breeding of the blue-tailed bee-eaters. During the 2-year investigation, 2 types of geography recorders (pinpoint GPS and geolocator) were placed on 29 blue-tailed bee-eaters to record the locations and surrounding environment data during their migration processes to further analyze and understand their migratory paths and winter grounds.
Pinpoint GPS provides accurate locations but less information, while Geolocator obtains the daily coordinates with less accuracy. Their combined data shows that the bee-eaters fly to Xiamen, through Huilai County in Guangdong Province, and arrive at the suburbs of Krong Pursat in Cambodia for winter. The winter data shows that the blue-tailed bee-eaters that breed in Kinmen arrive from various winter grounds, mainly from southwestern Indochina and southeastern Borneo in Indonesia.

Based on the survey data from the Pinpoint GPS and Geolocator, Professor Yuan Hsiao-Wei's research team speculates that the southbound migratory path is: 1. Kinmen - Xiamen - flying over land to reach Southeast Asia, and 2. Kinmen to Philippines and then southbound; the northbound return path is: 1. Southeast Asia - Hong Kong - flying over land to reach Xiamen, and 2. Philippines - Dongsha - Kinmen. During the course of the investigation, it was also found that groups that have passed by nesting slopes which have undergone habitat restoration are more stable. The Youth Farm and Cihu, restored by Kinmen National Park, have become the largest and second largest nesting slopes on Kinmen soil.
Kinmen National Park states that in order to let more visitors witness the beauty and interesting behaviors of these summer birds in action, and reduce the interference of the viewing process on these cute birds, the Park has installed a camouflaged bird-viewing passageway and an observatory deck, etc. at the Youth Farm nesting site, to promote the correct ethics and attitude for bird-viewing. On the other hand, the Ci Triangle Fort has a surveillance system installed which will offer real-time video transmissions online in the future. Those interested in viewing the interesting breeding behaviors of blue-tailed bee-eaters may do so over the Internet. Every year in June, during the height of the breeding season, there will also be a partnership with a Kinmen local NGO to promote conservation concepts at Ci Triangle Fort to allow more visitors and the general public to learn more about blue-tailed bee-eaters and promote eco-tourism. According to the self-monitoring results by our staff, 1,103 blue-tailed bee-eaters have already arrived by mid-April this year to start the summer season. We welcome all visitors to appreciate and protect these summer beauties together with the Park.
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