Birders the world over are always happy to have an excuse, an impetus, an encouragement to dash out there and start looking for birds (and counting them). Bird lists are wonderful. And for Caribbean bird sleuths, whether amateurs, professionals or just interested, there is eBird Caribbean, a site where you can contribute to the knowledge about Caribbean birds, as a citizen scientist.
If you look at that eBird page, you will find an article written by me about the amazing “virtual Global Big Day” we enjoyed back in May. Beny under lockdown in Panama birded from his balcony, birders in Maine and Massachusetts endured Arctic conditions, and the Bahamians came on strong with some serious backyard birding. It was enormous fun – mainly thanks to the wonders of WhatsApp.
Now, there is October Big Day – a grand reason to grab your binoculars, your camera and any other exciting gear you may have and find those birds! At the same time, you can get a discounted membership to BirdsCaribbean (which includes free access to the phenomenal Birds of the World website, among other benefits).
At BirdLife Jamaica, our activities have been severely curtailed by the ongoing pandemic. We have been going out in ones, twos and threes, however, and still posting photos and observations on our busy WhatsApp group. I am hoping (weather permitting – we have had downpours and thunderstorms daily) to venture out to Hope Botanical Gardens on Saturday, October 17. The two of us might combine our birdwatching activities with a visit to the plant nursery to purchase some more flowering plants for our garden. Pretty low key, compared to our exciting excursions across the island in the past few years!
More fascinating information on birds, their habitats, and conservation in general emerged during the days leading up to World Migratory Bird Day (last Saturday, October 10). My T shirt didn’t quite arrive in time but there were several absorbing Jamaican/Caribbean discussions online. I will be writing more about these shortly.
Biodiversity is a big word, in the context of climate change and the future of our planet. The recent United Nations Summit on Biodiversity rang alarm bells – including alarm bells for birds. Join a birding group today (you don’t have to be a scientist!) Once you have gained an appreciation for birds – what they depend on, where they live, how they behave, their extraordinary migrations, what other creatures depend on them, and much more – you will understand how everything is connected. And how you are connected to it all! Which is important.
Everything is connected. Like a spider web, if you disturb one part of our delicate network of biodiversity – the whole web quivers.
If you would like to become a member of BirdsCaribbean, go to their beautiful website and join here. You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @BirdsCaribbean. Don’t forget also their awesome and growing YouTube page.