More Birds in Qinghai Lake

More and more birds are flying to settle at Qinghai Lake, one of the highest inland lakes in China, thanks to the protection effort by the local governments.

Covering an area of over 4,000 square kilometers, Qinghai Lake is also the country's biggest salt-water lake.

Located in northwest China's Qinghai Province, it is famous for the two islands at its northeast part: Cormorant Island and Egg Island.

The two islands have plenty of floating grass and various schools of fish, offering rich food sources for birds. The islands thus has become a paradise for diversified groups of birds and enjoys a reputation of being called "Bird Islands."

Each March to April, when ice covering the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau starts to melt, over 20 kinds of migrating birds fly over mountains to the Bird Islands to propagate.

During the months, flocks of birds will cover the whole sky over the islands and bird eggs can be found everywhere. Visitors can hear bird warbles miles away. These have become a world famous sign of the Plateau.

To protect this paradise for the birds and echo the universal call for ecological environment protection, China set up the Qinghai Lake Natural Protection Zone of the state level at the end of 1997.

Meanwhile, the state has defined the Bird Island and Spring Bay of the Qinghai Lake as core protection zones.

Inspection officials and management employees often patrol around the lake, improving local residents' awareness on protection laws and spreading knowledge about wild animal protection to visitors.

They are making considerable efforts to call on people to love and protect the birds.

At the same time, they have built special fences and cement slots around the island area, to prevent wolves, foxes and other flesh eaters from disrupting the birds' untrammeled nest-building, egg-laying and reproduction. Moreover, the officials have carried out a series of technological projects on control of soil erosion and afforestation drives, with the aim to further improve the ecological environment for birds and their nests.

"We are determined to build the Bird Islands into a real "Paradise for Birds," they said.

As a result of these efforts, the management employees of the protection zone were glad to discover that groups of birds have come to the lake area earlier than expected this year.

During this period on the islands, these birds, great in number and densely populated, start to lay eggs earlier at this paradise.

The number of birds in the lake's core area, such as the Spring Bay and the Bird Islands have increased largely, and a variety of the birds also increased by six, including the white-headed goose (a rare kind of wild goose in China).

To date, the number of the migrating birds in the protection zone has totaled over 10,000.

Recently, while the management officials and local ornithologists were inspecting the wetlands in the protection zone, they caught sight of many white-headed geese and wild ducks near the entrance of the Daotang River.

In addition, large quantities of Red Sheldrake and other duck species, along with 11 Aigrettes and scattered Snipes are found in this area.

Near the lake, quite a number of Cormorants were also seen by the experts.

Some black-neck cranes, a rare kind of crane under first-class state-level protection, also appeared in the protection zone, the experts said.

( 07/17/2001)