TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Rare bar-headed geese made a surprise visit to Taiwan earlier this week, marking their first recorded appearance in the subtropical nation.
Native to East and South Asia, the black-and-white-headed birds are known for their ability to reach extreme altitudes during their biannual migration across the Himalayas. They have been recorded at heights of more than 7,000 meters, with a few mountain climbers even reportedly seeing them fly over summits around Mount Everest that are over 8,000 meters high.
A bar-headed goose typically weighs 2-3 kilograms and grows to 68-78 centimeters long. It usually breeds around lakes and marshes in the Middle East and migrates to low wetlands in South Asia to spend the winter.
A Taiwanese birdwatcher surnamed Lai (賴) said he first found the unlikely visitors on the Lanyang Plain in Yilan County on Tuesday (Jan. 12). He said there were eight bar-headed geese in total and that he was excited to share his discovery with bird lovers across the country.
Huang Shu-ting (黃蜀婷), the head of a bird photography club in Tainan, said she rushed to Yilan at 2 a.m. Friday morning after hearing the news. She pointed out that this was the first time the avians had visited Taiwan.
Meanwhile, Yilan Wild Bird Federation President Chen Chieh-peng (陳介鵬) said the unusual appearance of the bar-headed geese may be attributed to climate change. He added that the recent cold air masses near Taiwan could also be a factor, reported CNA.
Bar-headed geese spotted on Yilan's Lanyang Plain Tuesday. (Lai photo)