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“Fairies of the Forest” Frequently Visit Wenzhou
Date:2021-07-13 16:31:38 Source:Wenzhou·China Fonts:[ Large Medium Small ]

In May this year, a white paradise flycatcher flew like a fairy through the woods of Jingshan Park in Wenzhou.

A paradise flycatcher was feeding its young at Jiushan Park in downtown Wenzhou in June this year.

Do you know paradise flycatchers? Have you ever seen them before? Recently, a family of five paradise flycatchers appeared in Cangnan, Wenzhou. Fang Minghe, Director of the Wenzhou Green Eyes Ecological Protection Center and a bird monitor from the Cangnan Urban Construction Center, stumbled upon the beautiful, “little phoenix-like” paradise flycatchers in the Tanghe River Ecological Park in the New District in Cangnan County. Also known as Terpsiphone incei, paradise flycatchers, with long tails, fly like little fairies in white dancing with long sleeves and are reputed as “fairies of the forest”.

Paradise flycatchers befell Cangnan like jackpots

“At first I thought it was a relatively common chestnut bulbul. I didn’t expect it to be a paradise flycatcher. I felt as if winning a lottery,” Fang Minghe said. It was hot that day, Fang recalled. After he completed his bird monitoring work, he headed to his car. Close to the parking place, a bird with brown feathers, small in size and trailing a long tail, suddenly flew past in front of him. It was very beautiful and looked like a chestnut bulbul.

After a few minutes of searching, Fang spotted it on a branch a dozen meters ahead. Quietly approaching it until just four or five meters away, he was surprised to find that it turned out to be a male paradise flycatcher.

“This male paradise flycatcher was dragging its 20cm-long tail across the branches from side to side as if catching flying insects. Its entire head, from the crown to the back, is in lustrous blue-black. Its eye ring is glowing cobalt blue and a nice deep chestnut red extends from its back to its long tail. Its chest and belly are all white.” Fang said that the paradise flycatcher had never appeared in Cangnan before, and he had only seen it once in Wenzhou’s Jingshan Park, which impressed him with its beautiful and peculiar long tail feathers.

“A family of five” with “Dad” attentive to babies

What he saw next amazed Fang all the more. After further tracking, he discovered that the male paradise flycatcher was not single. It wasn’t long before a female one with similarly colorful tail and a dozen centimeter-long feathers flew by.

Seeing this “couple”, Fang became unspeakably excited, and the idea of going to their home “as a guest” was instantly born. After trailing them all the way, he finally found their nest and three chicks, a whole “family of five”, amid the pristine bush in the ecological park.

“If finding a paradise flycatcher was the lottery, then finding a family of five was a jackpot for me,” said Fang excitedly in the face of this rare “chance encounter”.

The next day, Fang and his colleagues came over early in the morning. After several days of observation, they discovered many interesting “parenting stories” of the paradise flycatcher. For example, when the male bird returned with a colorful butterfly in his mouth, he would knock off the colorful wings of the butterfly by hitting the tree trunk back and forth and only feed the body of the butterfly to the chicks.

“The male paradise flycatcher is really attentive to its babies,” Fang said. According to him, paradise flycatchers are also very efficient at predation. Both the male and female birds would go out and feed the three chicks non-stop, averaging a round trip of ten minutes or so.

Paradise flycatchers frequently seen in Wenzhou due to the environment, according to experts.

“The paradise flycatcher is home-bound and will not move easily after settling in a place.” Fang introduced that paradise flycatchers in China are mostly summer migratory birds, mainly feeding on insects and insect larvae, distributed in the east and central part of the country, and were included in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species as early as 2012. They are terrestrial wild animals of ecological, scientific and social importance under the protection of the state. From May to July each year, the birds breed and rear their chicks. So never disturb them and leave them in quiet in case you encounter them in the wild.

Moreover, it was learned that in May and June this year, paradise flycatchers, one of which is rarely white, also appeared in Jiushan Park and Jingshan Park. Guo Jianhua, Deputy Director of Wenzhou Jingshan Forest Park Management Center, introduced that a photographer found paradise flycatchers in Jiushan Park and Jingshan Park in May and June this year respectively, including a male bird in Jingshan Park that was white and very beautiful. Recently, those birds have left together with their babies, but their nests are still there.

According to Guo, paradise flycatchers were also seen in Wenzhou’s Jingshan Park last year. It is not surprising that paradise flycatchers have appeared frequently in Wenzhou over the past few years. As migratory birds, they spend winter in the south and fly over in spring and summer when Wenzhou has enough insects for them to raise their offspring. Paradise flycatchers are monogamous, taking turns to incubate their eggs, and raising their children together.

Liu Ming, President of the Wenzhou Wildlife Protection Association and curator of the Wenzhou Jinzhou Animal Museum, said that the appearance frequency of paradise flycatchers in Wenzhou, for example, is generally “V” shaped. In the early years, because of environmental pollution, climate change and other reasons, Wenzhou gradually lost paradise flycatchers, but in recent years, with the improvement of the ecological environment in Wenzhou, the climate is becoming more and more suitable for the survival of birds, and paradise flycatchers gradually returned to Wenzhou.

Experts appeal that if you come across these “fairies of the forest”, please do not disturb them, or you may affect their work of raising their offspring.

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