Black-faced spoonbills, endangered migratory birds of the ibis family, are seen in the sunset along the Tatara River in the city of Fukuoka on Oct. 17, 2021. The birds, commonly referred to in Japan as "messengers of winter," stand about 75 centimeters tall. As their name indicates, they have black faces and long bills that are broad at the end. They breed in the northwestern part of the Korean Peninsula and in China. Takuro Hattori, head of the Fukuoka Wetland Conservation Research Group, which is involved in conservation efforts, said that the arrival of the first of the birds was confirmed on Oct. 2. After that, not many were seen but 10 more arrived on the morning of Oct. 17 amid northerly winds and cold weather over the weekend. After spending several days in Fukuoka, the birds are expected to fly further south to wintering spots in Kumamoto and Kagoshima Prefectures. A flock of birds overwintering in Hakata Bay is expected to be seen in December.
(Japanese original by Takeshi Noda, Kyushu Photo Department)