Outside a cafe in east Beijing, a small bird fluttered to the ground and hopped and pecked at the concrete. Beijing Bird Watching Society member Li Ming cracked a smile and said “Passer montanus.” A humble sparrow, which Li says is the city’s most common bird, with the magpie a close second.
You can find both species in the Illustrated Guide to Wild Birds of Beijing (北京野鸟图鉴) published in 2000. The book contains photos and descriptions of 276 species, but Li says he and his fellow bird watchers reckon there are now 430 species in the city and the surrounding countryside if you include migrants that only come for the summer. Read more