A Wing And A Prayer


SURVIVOR: Avian flu victim Nguyen Sy Tuan holds an X-Ray of his lungs. At one stage, doctors prematurely declared him dead

Desolate but beautiful, tucked in a northwestern corner of China so distant from populated areas that it lies near the spot where Beijing developed its first atomic bomb, Bird Island could be the last place on earth. But for migratory birds, the island — actually a small peninsula protruding into Qinghai Lake, China's largest saltwater lake — is the avian equivalent of a busy international airport. Each year in the late spring and summer, hundreds of thousands of wild birds of almost 200 different species land here to lay eggs and hatch their young, before departing for wintering grounds that range...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!