Birds survive typhoon to color Taiwanese island white

Clement weather might soon see the birds move south

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More than 3,000 terns colored an island near Matsu white.

More than 3,000 terns colored an island near Matsu white. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An estimated 3,000 terns survived last week’s Typhoon Lekima to paint a small island near Matsu white with their feces.

The storm passed close to Taiwan’s main island before heading north on August 8-9, but it wasn’t until August 12 that an expedition of birdwatchers by boat noted the birds had survived the typhoon, the Central News Agency reported.

More than 3,000 terns were spending time on Tiejian Island near Matsu’s Beigan, and participants in the five-day trip could tell the rocks, usually black or dark, had turned white due to the birds’ excrements.

Numerous young birds were already learning to fly and to float on the water, and if no other typhoon was approaching, the terns might soon be leaving Matsu to seek out warmer areas south, experts said.

Another island near Matsu already gained a reputation as a “white island” years ago precisely due to the stay of a large group of terns, according to CNA.