Police in Ziyang, Sichuan province, have nabbed two criminal suspects who used recordings of bird calls to lure and catch thousands of birds.
On Oct 17, police patrolling the city's Yanjiang district happened upon the bird hunters and confiscated 3,071 birds as well as nets and recording machines.
The hunters had used the machines with recorded bird calls to lure more than 5,000 birds to nets set up in many parts of the district over two weeks. Over 2,000 birds had been sold to Guangdong province, police said.
All of the confiscated birds are species under State protection, with two being Daurian redstarts, 3,067 little buntings, one kingfisher and one black-faced bunting.
Shen You, 42, a longtime bird watcher, set up the Chengdu Bird Watching Society in Chengdu, the provincial capital, in 2004 with two friends and is now its president.
About 10 years ago, Shen visited Vietnam and found bird hunters with machines that had recorded bird calls. The practice appeared in China several years later and many hunters are using the machines, he said.
Hunters record the calls of birds they have captured and share the recordings with other hunters. As a result, hunters have recorded the calls of many species. When they want to hunt a particular species, they set up a net and play the recording to lure the species to the net, Shen said.
According to Beijing Youth Daily, recording machines can be purchased from online stores. One machine has 1,173 recorded calls of birds and animals. The birds include those under State protection such as the turtledove, yellow-breasted bunting and bamboo partridge.
On Sept 27, bird lovers in Beijing found eight nets used to hunt birds in Tongzhou district. The longest was nearly 30 meters.
Hunting protected birds is illegal, and departments in charge of forestry in the country have destroyed many nets this year, Shen said.