The Gyotoku Bird Observatory is a 56-hectare natural habitat for aquatic birds located in Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan. This area was once known internationally as a natural habitat where large numbers of waterbirds gathered.
In those days, more than 260 species of birds could be seen here. But through the years with increased development, the tidal flats and marshes that were home to these many birds began to disappear.
Gyotoku Bird Observatory tidal flats
To help reverse this situation, in November 1979 Chiba Prefecture established this wildlife protection area to serve as a wild bird sanctuary. If you're a bird lover and ready to escape Tokyo's concrete jungle, the Gyotoku Bird Observatory is a great place to observe aquatic birds in their natural waterfront habitat.
Gyotoku Bird Observatory Visitor Center
(no longer open to the public)
The facility includes a three-story visitor center and educational facility, as well as a small adjoining bird hospital to care for injured and sick wild birds. The 2nd floor has 44 telescopes and a large picture window for viewing the expansive wildlife protection area.
Observatory building 2nd floor telescopes
On Sunday afternoons and national holidays at 1:30, there is a group bird watching tour of the normally restricted special bird sanctuary zone, which you should sign up for in advance on the 2nd floor of the observatory building (please see my video below of a tour I took Feb. 27, 2011). There is also a tour on the 4th Saturday of every month @ 16:30 (16:00 from Oct. thru Jan.).
Birds one can expect to see here include: Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Great Cormorant, Black-crowned Night Heron, Little Egret, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Mallard, Spot-billed Duck, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Greater Scaup, Common Buzzard, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Common Snipe, Common Sandpiper, Common Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Oriental Turtle Dove, Common Kingfisher, Buff-bellied Pipit, White Wagtail, Brown-eared Bulbul, Daurian Redstart, Dusky Thrush, Bull-headed Shrike, Carrion Crow, Grey Starling, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, and Common Reed Bunting.
bird hospital patient
My Gyotoku Bird Observatory
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