Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival Begins on Earth Day


It has been a day and night of overwhelming rain in Kingston – the kind of rain that gets louder and louder until you cannot ignore it. Not so good for the pre-Carnival partygoers (hopefully they will have sunshine tomorrow). There are flood warnings and many Earth Day events were postponed.

The rain may also drive away the very last of our “winter visitors” – the bright and charming migratory birds that we delight in through the winter months. Yesterday I saw an American Redstart (always the first to arrive and last to leave) swooping at insects mid-air when the rain eased up a little. But now is really the time for our endemic birds – those that stick around all year, and live only here. In Jamaica we have no less than 28 endemic species that live ONLY on this island – the highest number of any Caribbean island. 

Here’s a really cool Jamaican endemic bird, the Jamaican Crow (Corvus jamaicensis) I took this photo during the 2016 Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival at Seville Great House in St. Ann. It was a breezy day!

Every year, BirdsCaribbean organises the Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival, a month of events that focus on these amazing birds that I sometimes think we take for granted. Here’s more information about the Festival from BirdsCaribbean. You can also find this article on the organisation’s beautiful website, here. Do join and support BirdsCaribbean today!

The Antillean Crested Hummingbird is a regional endemic. It is a common resident throughout the Lesser Antilles, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Photo by Sipke Stapert.

Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival Begins April 22nd

It’s that time of year again! The Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival (CEBF) begins on Earth Day, April 22nd. This regional celebration highlights the birds that are endemic—the ones that live only in the Caribbean. A wide variety of events will take place across the region through May 22nd, International Biodiversity Day. This annual celebration is organized by BirdsCaribbean, and events are hosted by groups on many islands.

This year’s theme is Our Endemic BirdsSharing “Stopover Sites.” While the festivals will celebrate the birds that live here and nowhere else in the world, they will also highlight habitat. Our endemic birds share their habitat with migratory birds that are here for only part of the year. Does sharing habitat mean more competition for food and shelter? How can we protect, conserve or even restore these shared habitats? What native plants and trees are beneficial? Which species are especially vulnerable?

The CEBF is a month-long event that Caribbean citizens of all ages enjoy – whether they are senior citizens in Havana, conservationists in Bermuda or schoolchildren in Grenada. And since we are in the Caribbean, our overseas visitors always get involved, too. In 2016, dozens of events celebrating endemic birds took place, providing opportunities for learning and enjoyment for thousands.

The Great Lizard Cuckoo is a regional endemic bird. It is found on the islands of the Bahamas and Cuba. Photo by Carrol Henderson.

Springtime in the Caribbean is always marked by the activities of the birds. As the winter visitors get ready to leave, many of our local birds are already busy building nests and raising families. Hills, valleys, wetlands, fields and gardens are alive with the urgent calls of fledglings, making it the perfect time to enjoy and appreciate our endemic birds. Find out what is happening in your area, or consider hosting an endemic bird event yourself. Visit http://birdscaribbean.org or find BirdsCaribbean on Facebook (and Twitter @BirdsCaribbean) for more information about the festival and updates throughout the month.

For further information and assistance with organising an event, contact Ingrid M. Flores, Caribbean Regional IMBD and CEBF Coordinator at imbdcoordinator.pr@gmail.com

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About BirdsCaribbean

BirdsCaribbean is a vibrant international network of members and partners committed to conserving Caribbean birds and their habitats. We raise awareness, promote sound science, and empower local partners to build a region where people appreciate, conserve and benefit from thriving bird populations and ecosystems. We are a non-profit (501 (c) 3) membership organization. More than 100,000 people participate in our programmes each year, making BirdsCaribbean the most broad-based conservation organization in the region. You can learn more about us, our work, and how to join at: http://www.birdscaribbean.org.

During last year’s Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival, ornithologist Ann Haynes-Sutton donated copies of her book “A Photographic Guide to Birds of Jamaica” to teachers using the BirdSleuth Caribbean program, to help impart even more bird knowledge. Here are teachers from Lowe River All Age, Albert Town Infant and Primary and Wait-a-bit All Age Schools in Trelawny receiving their books along with Ava Tomlinson (far left) of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA). Photo: NEPA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


8 thoughts on “Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival Begins on Earth Day

    1. Yes, it’s really fun. Each island does its own “thing” with the theme, depending on their culture, budget etc… Isn’t the Lizard Cuckoo amazing! We have a Jamaican Lizard Cuckoo, endemic to our island – somewhat different colouring, but they are splendid birds!

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