This article is from WeChat official account:ring planetary ball (ID: huanxingxingqiu), author: yogurt not foam head from FIG: Fan Zhongyong

On July 5th last year, at the 43rd UNESCO World Heritage Conference, the National Yellow Sea (Bo) Sea Migratory Bird Habitat(No. Phase I) was officially approved for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

The Yellow (Bo) Sea area has the world’s largest contiguous mud beach. It is the location of Asia’s largest intertidal wetland, and it is also an East Asia-Australia migratory bird migration area.(EAAF) An important transit point for waterbirds in Shanghai.

The main route of bird migration between East Asia and Australia

The rivers with huge amounts of sediment have created a large number of tidal flats and wetlands along the coast of the Huanghai-Bohai Sea

Therefore, the success of this application is worthy of pride. After all, it is beneficial to my country’s ecological civilization construction and biodiversity conservation. But what needs to be realized is that the situation facing water birds is getting worse, and what we need to do is not only call out “protect wetlands”, but also protect the habitat of migratory birds in the Yellow (Bo) Sea.

The tragic situation of waterfowl

The number of spoon-billed sandpipers worldwide is a rare bird that may be less than the number of staff in your office building.

This is a water bird about the size of a sparrow. It has a black beak. When foraging, it will be inserted into the water or mud and swept back and forth like a broom. It is very cute.

Spoon-billed Sandpiper, photo by Zhang Ming

Spoon-billed Sandpiper mainly inhabits the Chukotka Peninsula in northeastern Russia and the isthmus of Kamchatka Peninsula. It lives in wetlands such as tundra swamps, grasslands, lakes, and streams and ponds. Before winter comes, they will migrate along the west coast of the Pacific, passing through Japan, North Korea, South Korea, and China, and fly to Southeast Asia for winter.

The route from Chukotka-Kamchatka to Southeast Asia

However, the future of their population is increasingly worrying. In 1970, there were about 2,000 to 2,800 pairs of spoon-billed sandpipers in the world. By 2000, this number had dropped to 1,000. Five years later, there were fewer than 400 pairs. In 2014, there were only more than 200 pairs.

Spoon-billed Sandpiper, photo by Zhang Ming

The reason is its migration route. Wetlands including my country’s coastal wetlands have been severely damaged. It is increasingly difficult for them to fly through this long journey to warmth…

Compared with Chinese Crested Tern, the situation of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper is actually quite optimistic.

The Chinese Crested Tern is also a migratory bird that likes to live in coastal islands and other wetlands. As one of the rarest birds in China, humans have only observed them exactly 6 times since they were named in 1863 to 2000. Records, so this bird is also called “the bird of myth” because of its unpredictable track.

Chinese Crested Tern returns from foraging, photo by Zhang Peng

Before 2000, in our country, scientists believed that this bird only breeds on the coast of Shandong, China and has become extinct. However, Chinese crested terns were found in Matsu, Lianjiang, and Jiushan Islands in Zhejiang afterwards. The protection of Chinese Crested Tern brings new hope.

Through the efforts of animals and environmentalists, in 2018, 77 adult crested terns in Zhejiang coastal experimental base gave birth to 25 chicks, the first time the number of this critically endangered species exceeded 100.

The Chinese Crested Tern (left) and the neighboring Great Crested Tern. Photo by Fan Zhongyong

However, the number of 100 in the world is still pitiful. The Chinese Crested Tern undoubtedly needs more protection. The reproductive ability of this kind of bird is not strong, and it can only lay one egg at a time. The breeding environment is often threatened by typhoons and human activities, so the reproduction success rate is very low. Obviously, it is critically endangered and needs more protection.

Life is difficult not only for the birds that live long in the coastal areas of our country, but also many “temporary” visitors from afar.

Red-bellied dunlin is a small water bird that is good at long-distance migration. They overwinter in Australia and New Zealand, pass along the coast of China, and then fly to Siberia, Russia to breed. During this long and dangerous migration journey, China’s coastal wetlands are the most important gas station for replenishing energy.

Red-bellied Dunlin, Source: Wikimedia Commons

However, with the destruction of its habitat along the coast of the Yellow and Bohai Seas, the population of migrating waterbirds passing by is gradually declining, and they have been forced to gather on the remaining intertidal tidal flats, such as red-bellied sandpipers. , It is becoming more and more concentrated in the Luannan Wetland where the natural environment is more reserved: In 2007, the density of the red-bellied sandpipers staying in the Luannan Wetland was still 211/km², and by 2010 it had reached 970/km² , An increase of more than 4 times……

These are just the tip of the iceberg in the survival dilemma of water birds. With more birds, the population security status is changing from safe to endangered, or from endangered to critically endangered.

Chinese Crested Tern’s parent and chicks, photo by Yang Weiguang

Chinese Crested Tern chicks on the second day after hatching, photo by Yang Weiguang

Eating, drinking, housing and transportation, threats everywhere

Humans have extremely high requirements for their own living environment, and building a house for themselves requires careful selection of the appropriate environment and location. However, the waterbirds, who do not have high requirements for the living environment, are facing the dilemma of their homes—wetlands being increasingly destroyed.

The wetland, known as the “Kidney of the Earth”, is one of the most economically valuable and biologically diverse ecosystems in the world. It directly or indirectly provides almost all of the world’s fresh water consumption, and more than 1 billion people rely on it Wetlands make a living. 40% of species inhabit and reproduce in wetlands. It also has the ability to protect the ecological environment(mediate runoff, improve water quality, and regulate microclimate) Important role.

Xiangshan Jiushan Archipelago Chinese Crested Tern Breeding Island Project team provided aerial photos

Compared with inland wetlands, coastal wetlands have more prominent ecological value-they are also the key habitat for the breeding, resting and overwintering of many migratory waterbirds, as well as the key areas of migratory bird migration areas in East Asia and Australia. my country’s coastal area extends from Liaoning in the north to Hainan in the south.