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White Crane Singly Reappears in Dongtan


The number and species of endangered migratory birds in Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve have been gradually picking up after the restoration in recent years. Lately, a white crane has been witnessed in the National Reserve. The last time the kind of rare bird was witnessed in Dongtan was eight years ago.

In the Nature Reserve, the workers record the life scenes of white cranes on camera. The white crane lives together with hooded cranes and other birds. It is beautiful and charming, but which can hardly hide its loneliness. According to the workers, white cranes are kind of gregarious migratory birds. Generally, Dongtan is not a great wintering ground for them, so it is very rare to see white cranes here.
According to Wu Wei, a worker of the National Reserve, white cranes are very valuable and rare. There are less than 3,000 white cranes in total in the world. Of these, 90% of them spend winters around Poyang Lake of China, which means that very few white cranes would come to Dongtan. The last time to see white cranes in Dongtan was in 2010. The white crane we see is academically called straggler, which generally implies that the bird comes to Chongming Dongtan because it has lost its way.
The white crane is most likely separated from the large group during the migration. It comes to Dongtan, which is not short of food that the white crane lives on, because it meets with the migration birds by chance, like the hooded cranes. Anyway, it is securely for it to spend the Lunar New Year with other birds in Dongtan.
According to Wu Wei, the white crane is an herbivorous bird, and mainly eats a plant called tape grass in Poyang Lake. In Dongtan, it may eat the same food as what hooded cranes and grey cranes eat, such as the common scirpus mariqueter.
With the smooth progress of restoration in Dongtan in recent years, spartina alterniflora has been cleared, which makes scirpus mariqueter, food of a migratory bird, grow well. Dongtan provides a well-conditioned residence for all kinds of migratory birds, which makes the white crane stay at ease.
According to Wu Wei, when the white crane goes north to breed again next spring, it may find its friends again there.
It is expected that the stray white crane can find the way home and soon reunite with its family after the Chinese Lunar New Year.

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