Autumn in the town of Hangchun in Taiwan marks the beginning of a once-a-year treat for the local gourmet and people alike.
GV PAN Countryside Southern Taiwan
MV ZOOM OUT TO GV Cattle in field
GV Farmer setting traps (2 shots)
SV Shrikes catch in snare (2 shots)
SV Shrike caught by farmer
CU Shrike caught in snare (3 shots)
GV Farmers with snared birds
SV Snared shrike, farmers reset snares
GV ZOOM TO SV Farmer takes shrike to shop
SV Dish of roasted shrike ZOOM OUT TO family eating, ZOOM OUT TO child eating shrike (2 shots)
Initials AE/16.52 AE/17.22
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Background: Autumn in the town of Hangchun in Taiwan marks the beginning of a once-a-year treat for the local gourmet and people alike.
The season marks the start of the migration south from the People's Republic of China and Korea of the tiny brown shrikes. Hengchun is their only stop on the way to the Philippines...and the local trappers use ancient methods to trap them. At dawn farmers set their simple trap. A forked bamboo pole, a tiny wooden perch and a loop of cod attached to a springy twig. With monotonous regularity the shrikes...themselves a bird of prey...are caught in the loop. Each time a catch is made, the trap must be re-set. Thousands of the simple pole devices which have been used for generations dot the hills of Hengchun. A single farmer may catch as many as a hundred birds in an hour and the strikes fly in to try and catch mice or smaller birds over his fields. Its estimated that a half-a-million shrikes are in the annual migration.
The birds are sold alive to local storekeepers and they are kept in cages until ready for the charcoal fire. To the Western palate shrike is said to taste like crisp bacon, but the exotic delicacy is found in only one place, hengchun in Taiwan.