A rare bird has visited Dokdo, the easternmost outpost of Korea.
The Ministry of Environment recently reported that it has found on one of the Dokdo Islands a rare bird, the Pine Grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator), a type of finch. Never having appeared before in any official report, the little rare bird was discovered during a regular ecological monitoring session during autumn this year. These sessions are regularly carried out to log any biological resources and to help preserve the natural ecosystem of the islands. In 54 years of record keeping, this is the first discovery of a rare bird. The last time this kind of finch was seen was when a female Pine Grosbeak showed up back in 1959 in Hamgyeongbuk-do (North Hamgyeong Province), now part of North Korea.
The Pine Grosbeak, of the finch family Fringillidae, inhabits parts of Siberia and migrates south every winter. Nearly four million Pine Grosbeaks can be seasonally found at higher latitudes in the northern hemisphere. However, as the number of survivors has rapidly dropped, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has had to classify the conservation status of the bird, though only into its “Least Concern” (LC) category.
The Korean government assumes that the one bird found on Dokdo, far south for this species, is a vagrant bird. Upon announcement of this finding, online comments showed a variety of responses, claiming that, “Dokdo is a hometown for birds,” and that, “Birds admit to the beauty of Dokdo.”