The tern spotted in Queensland. (Photo courtesy of Yilan County Wild Bird Organization)
A little tern tracked by a group of Taiwanese ornithologists was spotted in Queensland, Australia in early November, the first time a little tern tagged by the group has been seen overseas, the Yilan County Wild Bird Organization said Friday.
Hu Lin-chih, director-general of the organization, said researchers released 53 little terns this summer after tagging them with tracking numbers at the Lanyang Estuary Waterbird Refuge, and the bird found on Queensland coast had the no. 9 tag.
Having covered an estimated 10,000 kilometers, it was the first little tern tagged in Yilan that has been confirmed as flying across the Pacific Ocean for the winter, Hu said.
Over the years, researchers have released several little terns — which are listed as rare protected animals — but they either went missing or died after leaving the island, Hu said.
The organization has cooperated with National Taiwan University and National Ilan University over the past three years to monitor the protected birds at the Lanyang Estuary Waterbird Refuge, Hu said.
Over 4,000 little terns can be found in the area each year, and their numbers are gradually increasing, he said.