Located in Yancheng of Jiangsu Province, Yancheng Rare Birds Nature Reserve is mainly dedicated to the protection of tidal wetland ecosystem and rare birds represented by red-crowned cranes. It is a famous scenic site for bird watching. Established as a provincial reserve in 1984, the Reserve was classified as a national nature reserve in 1992, and included in the International Man and Biosphere Reserve Network of UNESCO in the same year.
The Nature Reserve is the largest coastal wetland reserve in the East of China with international prestige, which occupies 453,000 ha coastal wetland and 582 km of coastline. Every year, the natural reserve will await the arrival of flocks of rare birds that is a really spectacular scene. For birdwatchers, the best time for visiting the reserve is between November and March when there are thousands of migrant birds. In summer time, the wetlands present an enchanting landscape.
The nature reserve is close to the Yellow Sea and covers an area of 453,000 hectares, with 444-kilometer-long tidal-flat area along the sea. Thanks to mild climate, abundant rainfall, smooth terrain and diversified biological species, the nature reserve is home to 450 plant species, 377 bird species, 45 amphibian and reptile species, 281 fish species and 47 mammal species. Among them, wild animals under key protection include: red-crowned cranes, hooded cranes, white cranes, golden eagles, white tailed sea eagles, paddlefish, river deer, whooper swans, common cranes and spotted seals etc. As one of the highly conserved natural habitats in the world, the Yancheng National Nature Reserve has earned its international prominence.
The reserve started to accept tourists in 2004 and since then a tremendous number of tourists have visited the reserve. The reserve has established a small zoo where the wounded birds and animals are hosted for treatments, and the zoo provides tourists opportunities to see bird facilities, crane pavilions and waterfowl lakes, and to participate a video training course for nature protection. The ever-developing Yancheng Rare Birds Nature Reserve has become a science popularization base, birds’ paradise and natural museum, attracting as many as 100,000 tourists every year.
The reserve harbors a great diversity in plant species and is an important wintering habitat for many bird species, especially the red crowned crane. Meanwhile, the nature reserve is a key passageway and stopover site for birds migrating from northeast Asia to Australia. It’s also an important wintering area for the world’s waterfowls. Every spring and autumn, close to 2 million shorebirds migrate passing Yancheng, with 0.2 million waterfowls living through winter in the nature reserve.
In addition, the wetland reserve shelters an enormous number of other species of insects, fish, and animals including some endangered species. Noticed by Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the protected diversity of species includes 43 coelenterates, 65 annelids, 156 mollusks, 310 insects, 281 fish, 45 amphibians and reptiles, 379 birds and 47 mammals. There are about 3 million individuals of more than 200 bird species annually migrating through the region.
Birds in the nature reserve warmly welcomes friends from home and abroad to visit there, explore the “sea world” and get close to nature and have a great time.