Taiwan New Year Bird Count 2022 Annual Report

Preface & Acknowledgements 

Lin Da-li

The Taiwan New Year Bird Count is a citizen science project which aims to monitor the status and trends of migratory waterbirds in Taiwan proper and its outlying islands. This 9th report represents the results of 2022, and was conducted between December 18, 2021 and January 9, 2022. During the survey, 1,032 participants recorded 368,724 individuals from 325 species in 172 sample circles. Its results offer a glimpse into the situation facing migratory birds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF) in 2022.

The NYBC results provide comprehensive insights into the distribution and community composition of the wintering avifauna of Taiwan. This has importance for conservation goals along the EAAF as it provides an in depth look at site usage for a number of migratory bird species. The data is also shared with Wetlands International for use in the Asian Waterbird Census. Organizers would like to express their deepest gratitude and appreciation to all the participants, NGOs, donors, and sponsors without whom the Taiwan NYBC would not be possible.

In this report, the authors are also able to share the results of an analysis done using NYBC data collected between 2014 and 2022. Using this information, population trajectory models have been made for Taiwan proper as well as three areas considered migratory bird hotspots: (1) the Changhua Coast in western Taiwan, (2) the Chianan Coast in southwestern Taiwan, and (3) the Yilan Plain in northeastern Taiwan. Of these three areas, the situation in the Yilan Plain is most concerning, with nine species of waterbird showing significant population declines. It is followed by Changhua (four species) and Chianan (one species). The data also showed that Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) numbers have decreased dramatically in all areas, even though it is not a migratory waterbird. Meanwhile, a government-led removal of invasive African Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus) which began in 2019 has continued to yield positive results for resident species.  More good news is that the Taiwan NYBC 2022 mascot, the Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula), maintained stable numbers. 

Yet what factors are driving the rapid species decline in certain areas? The authors conducted further analysis to get a clearer picture. Results showed that in the Yilan Plain, species which relied on rice paddy habitat had a higher decline rate than others. This indicates that rice paddy loss may be an important local threat to those migratory waterbird species. It also points to the need to investigate the relationship between agricultural land loss resulting from building expansions and luxury home creation in recent years and declining population numbers in Yilan. Also, previous studies identified tidal flat loss around the Yellow Sea as possibly one of the most pressing threats to migratory waterbirds along the EAAF. Our analysis supports this assessment. The authors suggest that both local land use planning policies within Taiwan as well as mitigation of Yellow Sea tidal flat loss are likely to be complementary in safeguarding the future of migratory waterbirds in Taiwan.

The Taiwan NYBC is organized by the Taiwan Wild Bird Federation (TWBF), the Wild Bird Society of Taipei (WBST), the Kaohsiung Wild Bird Society (KWBS) and the Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute (TESRI). The organizers would also like to give special thanks to Allen Lyu (呂翊維 TWBF), Scott Pursner (潘森識 TWBF), Hsuan-hsuan Wang (王宣蘐 TWBF), Chiang Kung-kuo (蔣功國 WBST), Lin Kun-hai (林昆海 KWBS), Lin Ruey-shing (林瑞興 TESRI), Tsai Chih-yi (蔡芷怡 TESRI) and Lin Da-li (林大利 TESRI) for their tireless effort in making the Taiwan NYBC 2022 a reality.  

Recommended Citation:
Lin, D-L, Tsai C-Y, Chao J,  Pursner S, Lyu A, Lin K-H, Chiang K-K, Lin, R-S. 2022. Taiwan New Year Bird Count 2022 Annual Report. Taiwan Wild Bird Federation, Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute, Taiwan.

Mr. Allen Lyu nybc@bird.org.tw
Mr. Scott Pursner conservation@bird.org.tw
Mr. Lin Da-li dalilin@tesri.gov.tw