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Japan Photo Journal: Endangered migratory spoonbills herald arrival of winter in Fukuoka

(Mainichi/Takeshi Noda)

Black-faced spoonbills land on the Tatara River at sunset in the southwestern Japan city of Fukuoka's Higashi Ward on Nov. 10, 2022. The endangered migratory birds, referred to in Japan as "messengers of winter," are arriving at the river near Hakata Bay one after another. The birds stand about 75 centimeters tall and, as their name suggests, they have black faces and long, broad bills. They breed primarily in the northwestern Korean Peninsula. According to Takuro Hattori, the head of the nonprofit organization Fukuoka Wetland Conservation Research Group, the arrival of the first spoonbill this season was confirmed on Oct. 6, and the number had increased to 14 by Nov. 10. Spoonbills that have flown to the area around this time stay there for a while before migrating to wintering areas further south in Kumamoto and Kagoshima prefectures.

    (Japanese original by Takeshi Noda, Kyushu Photo Department)

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