After Jason recently asked ChatGPT for birding advice, the management consultant in me – constantly thriving for efficiency improvements – immediately thought of the next step. Why tediously write blog posts when ChatGPT can do it for me?

So, I asked ChatGPT: “Please write a 500-word blog post about birding in Shanghai in the style of Kai Pflug for the website 10,000 birds”. This is the result:

Greetings, fellow birding enthusiasts! Today, I invite you to join me, Kai Pflug, on an extraordinary avian expedition as we explore the vibrant cityscape of Shanghai, a hidden gem for birdwatchers in the heart of China. Nestled between the Huangpu River and the East China Sea, Shanghai offers a captivating blend of urban charm and natural wonders, making it a must-visit destination for birders seeking a unique and diverse avian experience.

A City of Surprising Contrasts:

Shanghai’s skyscrapers and bustling streets may seem worlds away from the realm of birds, but beneath its modern facade lies a rich tapestry of avian biodiversity. The city’s unique geographical location along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway makes it a vital stopover for countless migratory birds, transforming Shanghai into a migratory hotspot during the spring and autumn seasons.

The Majestic Wetlands:

Within Shanghai’s boundaries lie several pristine wetland habitats that serve as vital sanctuaries for a plethora of bird species. Among the most notable is Chongming Dongtan, a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance. This expansive marshland is home to rare and endangered species such as the charismatic Black-faced Spoonbill, Saunders’s Gull, and the elegant Oriental Stork. Here, birdwatchers can witness the captivating dance of large flocks of shorebirds as they forage in the nutrient-rich mudflats.

Urban Birding Delights:

Despite being a sprawling metropolis, Shanghai embraces its feathered inhabitants, providing them with pockets of greenery within the city limits. Century Park, the largest park in Shanghai, offers a haven for both residents and migrants alike. Stroll through its tranquil gardens and be rewarded with sightings of the vibrant Azure-winged Magpie, the melodious Oriental Reed Warbler, or the elusive Grey-headed Lapwing.

The Seasonal Spectacles:

Shanghai’s birding scene comes alive during the spring and autumn migration seasons. Witness the sky darkening with thousands of Eurasian Curlews, Black-tailed Godwits, and Dunlins as they make their journey across continents. Yangkou, a coastal area just outside Shanghai, is a hotspot for witnessing the spectacle of migratory birds in action. Keep your binoculars ready, as you might catch sight of the rare Spoon-billed Sandpiper or the iconic Red-crowned Crane gracefully soaring overhead.

Birding Beyond the City:

For the more adventurous birder, Shanghai serves as a gateway to explore the diverse landscapes of eastern China. Just a short journey from the city, one can immerse themselves in the breathtaking beauty of the Tianmu Mountains, where elusive species like the Silver Pheasant and the vulnerable Swinhoe’s Pheasant call their territories. A visit to the island of Chongming also promises encounters with the charismatic Chinese Egret and the globally threatened Reed Parrotbill.

Preserving Shanghai’s Avian Heritage:

As we delve into Shanghai’s avian wonders, it is crucial to acknowledge the importance of conservation efforts in preserving the city’s natural heritage. Supporting local conservation organizations and participating in citizen science initiatives allows us to contribute to the protection of Shanghai’s bird species and their habitats. By raising awareness and advocating for responsible tourism practices, we can ensure that future generations will continue to marvel at the avian treasures that call Shanghai home.


Shanghai, with its juxtaposition of urban landscapes and thriving birdlife, is a testament to the harmonious coexistence of humanity and nature. Exploring its wetlands, parks, and beyond, birders can unveil the hidden avian wonders that await in every corner of this vibrant city. So, grab your binoculars, sharpen your birding skills, and embark on an unforgettable journey to Shanghai—an urban birding paradise that promises to delight, inspire, and leave you with a newfound appreciation for the avian tapestry that paints the city’s skies. Happy birding!

Hm, the point about writing in my style was pretty much ignored – I guess I am just not famous enough for that prompt to work. In fact, this is kind of the opposite of the style I pursue – full of cliches (“vibrant city”, “unforgettable journey”, “avian wonders”, etc.).

For me, the result is pretty much unreadable without throwing up – but apart from the pompous style, there are also some mistakes. It will be difficult to find the Grey-headed Lapwing in Century Park (Chongming would be a far better option), while Tianmushan is not “a short journey from the city” but rather a four-hour drive.

But anyway, my main point of contention is the style, not the facts. So, I tried again: “This sounds a bit too positive to me. Can you write a 500-word blog post with the same topic but much more negative?”

Title: Challenging Realities: Birding Struggles in Shanghai’s Concrete Jungle


Welcome, fellow birding enthusiasts, to an exploration of the often overlooked challenges faced by birdwatchers in the concrete jungle of Shanghai. In this blog post, I, Kai Pflug, will shed light on the difficulties and obstacles encountered while seeking avian wonders amidst the urban sprawl of China’s most populous city. Brace yourself for a candid and thought-provoking journey that unveils the harsh realities of birding in Shanghai.

Urbanization’s Impact on Birdlife:

Shanghai’s rapid urbanization has taken a toll on the city’s once-vibrant bird population. The relentless expansion of skyscrapers, highways, and commercial developments has resulted in the destruction and fragmentation of natural habitats. Many native bird species have been displaced or lost their breeding grounds, leading to a significant decline in their numbers. The once-thriving ecosystems have been replaced by concrete and pollution, leaving little room for avian diversity to flourish.

Lack of Green Spaces:

One of the most disheartening aspects of birding in Shanghai is the scarcity of green spaces. While there are a few parks and gardens scattered throughout the city, they often serve as mere decorative elements rather than true sanctuaries for birds. The limited availability of suitable habitats forces birds into urban environments, where they face numerous challenges such as pollution, noise, and limited food sources. The absence of extensive natural areas hampers the ability to witness the full spectrum of avian species that once called Shanghai home.

Migration Challenges:

Shanghai’s strategic location along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway should make it a prime destination for migratory birds. However, the city’s bright lights and towering structures pose grave risks to these winged travelers. Confused by the dazzling skyline, many birds become disoriented and collide with buildings, resulting in fatal injuries. Additionally, the relentless noise pollution disrupts their navigation systems, making it even more challenging for them to complete their perilous journeys. The migratory season, once a spectacle to behold, has now become a somber reminder of the human impact on the natural world.

Loss of Endangered Species:

Shanghai was once home to remarkable bird species, including several endangered ones. However, the relentless destruction of habitats and the encroachment of urbanization have pushed these vulnerable creatures to the brink of extinction. The elegant Chinese Egret, the elusive Reed Parrotbill, and the majestic Oriental Stork are just a few examples of the endangered birds struggling to survive in the face of relentless human progress. The loss of these species is a haunting testament to the price paid for urban development at the expense of biodiversity.

Conservation Efforts and the Way Forward:

Despite the challenges, passionate individuals and organizations are working tirelessly to protect Shanghai’s remaining birdlife. Conservation projects, such as habitat restoration and awareness campaigns, aim to create a sustainable future for the avian inhabitants of the city. Local birdwatching groups play a crucial role in monitoring populations, documenting sightings, and advocating for conservation measures. By supporting these initiatives and demanding responsible urban planning, we can strive to preserve what little remains of Shanghai’s avian heritage.


Birding in Shanghai is an endeavor fraught with challenges and disheartening realities. The overwhelming urbanization, habitat loss, and decline in avian populations paint a grim picture of the city’s natural landscape. However, acknowledging these difficulties is the first step towards effecting positive change. By raising awareness, supporting conservation efforts, and demanding more sustainable practices, we can strive to protect the remaining bird species and restore balance to Shanghai’s ecosystem. Let us not turn a blind eye to the struggles of birding in this concrete jungle, but rather channel our passion and determination to create a future where birds can thrive amidst the challenges they face.

Well, a bit better in terms of being more realistic about the prospects of birds and birding in Shanghai – still, the style …

So, I tried again. “Can you rewrite the last post so that it is more ironic and more sarcastic, and less pompous?”

Title: Birding Adventures in Shanghai: The Ironies Amidst the Concrete Chaos


Hey there, fellow bird enthusiasts! Get ready for a rollercoaster ride as we delve into the quirky and ironic world of birding in Shanghai. I’m Kai Pflug, and in this blog post, we’ll navigate the concrete chaos and unravel the comically absurd challenges faced by birdwatchers in this bustling metropolis. So, buckle up and brace yourself for a sarcastic and eye-opening journey through the wilds of Shanghai’s urban birding scene.

When Nature Meets Concrete:

Picture this: towering skyscrapers, blaring horns, and a seemingly endless sea of people. That’s right, we’re in Shanghai—a place where birds and concrete collide in a remarkable display of irony. Amidst the relentless urbanization, we’re left with scraps of green spaces that are more like bird-sized postage stamps rather than the sanctuaries they claim to be. Who needs biodiversity when you can have another shopping mall, right?

Avian Nomads in a Concrete Jungle:

Oh, the joy of migration! It’s a marvel to witness birds embarking on their epic journeys across continents, only to be greeted by Shanghai’s mesmerizing skyline. Who needs the open skies and unobstructed natural landscapes when you have bright lights and shiny glass windows to confuse our feathered friends? Collisions with buildings? It’s just a quirky initiation ritual for migratory birds in this concrete jungle. Survival of the fittest, right?

Where Endangered Species Meet Urban Progress:

Shanghai was once a haven for endangered bird species. But hey, who needs those rare and majestic creatures when we can have more concrete and construction cranes? The Chinese Egret, Reed Parrotbill, and Oriental Stork are just a few examples of the unfortunate victims of urbanization. It’s like playing a game of hide-and-seek, except the birds are losing, and we’re winning our concrete trophy.

Green Spaces? What Green Spaces?

You want green spaces? We’ll give you a couple of small parks and call it a day! Don’t expect expansive natural habitats teeming with diverse birdlife. No, in Shanghai, we prefer ornamental gardens and manicured lawns that serve as mere props for Instagram selfies. Who needs biodiversity when you can have the perfect backdrop for your latest social media post?

Conservation Efforts: Like Finding a Needle in a Concrete Haystack

Ah, conservation efforts—those mythical endeavors hidden amidst the urban chaos. Sure, there are a few passionate souls fighting to protect Shanghai’s birdlife, but it’s like searching for a needle in a concrete haystack. Hats off to those brave souls who dare to challenge the relentless march of urban development. Keep fighting the good fight, even if it feels like whispering in the wind.


Birding in Shanghai is a hilariously ironic adventure amidst the concrete chaos. The clash of nature and urban progress creates a bizarre and sometimes frustrating experience for birdwatchers. But let’s not lose our sense of humor in the face of these absurdities. By shedding light on the ironies, we can spark conversations, raise awareness, and maybe—just maybe—inspire change. So, fellow birding enthusiasts, let’s embrace the quirks and challenges of Shanghai’s avian scene with a dash of sarcasm and a lot of determination. Happy birding (or should we say, concrete birding)!

Well, still not quite what I would want to write myself – somebody should teach ChatGPT that a writing style does not get ironic or sarcastic by just adding the word ironic somewhere …

Still, maybe there is hope for me to spend my time with things other than writing blog posts. Which leads to the final question: “Can you add some suitable bird photos to the text you just wrote?”

As an AI text-based model, I’m unable to directly insert images into the text. However, I can describe suitable bird photos that could be added to complement the text. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. A photo capturing the collision of a bird with a glass window, showcasing the ironic challenge faced by migratory birds in Shanghai’s urban landscape.
  2. An image of a small, ornamental garden surrounded by towering skyscrapers, emphasizing the limited green spaces available for birds amidst the concrete jungle.
  3. A photo depicting the construction cranes and concrete structures, juxtaposed with a fading image of an endangered bird species, symbolizing the loss of natural habitats and the impact on bird populations.
  4. An amusing shot of a bird perched on a street sign or in the midst of a bustling crowd, highlighting the absurdity of birds navigating through Shanghai’s busy streets.

These images would add a visual layer to the ironic and sarcastic tone of the text, creating a more engaging and immersive reading experience.

So, I guess I will have to create my blog posts myself for the time being, particularly if I want to include photos … which my next post will have again.

Written by Kai Pflug
Kai Pflug has been living in Shanghai for 20 years. He only became interested in birds in China – so he is much more familiar with birds in China than with those in Germany. While he will only ever be an average birder, he aims to be a good bird photographer and has created a website with bird photos as proof. He hopes not too many clients of his consulting company read this blog, as they will doubt his dedication to providing consulting services related to China`s chemical industry. Whenever he wants to shock other birders, he tells them his (indoor) cats can distinguish several warblers by taste.