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White crane begins wintering at China's largest freshwater lake

Xinhua, October 14, 2021 Adjust font size:

NANCHANG, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- A white crane was spotted on Tuesday in Yugan County, east China's Jiangxi Province, marking the start of the species' winter at Poyang Lake this year.

According to the Yugan station of the Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve Administration Bureau, the crane was foraging without a companion when staff spotted the animal through binoculars.

The first bird landed approximately two weeks earlier than last year most likely due to the cold current, according to the station staff.

White cranes are also known as "living fossil" birds, with only about 4,000 living around the world. When autumn ends every year, they fly to the lake for the winter, mainly foraging in shallow water. From late February to early March the following year, large flocks begin to fly northward.

Poyang Lake is an important wintering area for waterbirds in Asia. Each year, hundreds of thousands of birds from Russia, Mongolia, Japan and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, as well as China's northwest and northeast regions, winter at the lake.

With a surface area of over 3,200 square kilometers, the lake usually hosts up to 700,000 wintering birds every year.