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Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

Garden of the Groves International Migratory Bird Day Celebration
By Erika Gates
Sep 17, 2013 - 8:21:45 PM

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Hi-tech introduction to the wonderful world of birds

Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas - Once again, the Garden of the Groves family is pleased to announce its participation in the annual International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) activities. Along with the Society for Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB) we will spend the entire month of October educating our community. The main objective is to heighten everybody’s awareness of the thousands of migratory birds that pass through the Bahamas or spend the winter here and find ways to protect their habitat.

Co-ordinator, Mrs. Marilyn Laing, states, “We want to share the message of bird conservation with everybody and due to the interest by so many schools to participate we do not only limit our activities to one day. It has become a tradition at the Garden of the Groves to host fieldtrips, lectures and art competitions throughout the whole month of October!”

This year the theme for IMBD is “Life Cycles of Migratory Bird” and conservation leaders, researchers and nature enthusiasts throughout the Caribbean and the Bahamas will join forces to celebrate and promote public awareness surrounding the miracle of bird migration. While there are threats of development, illegal hunting and habitat destruction, nearly 350 species of birds make the annual journey from their breeding grounds in the U.S. and Canada to their winter homes in the Caribbean, Bahamas and South America.

Youngsters eager to answer questions after fieldtrip with Marilyn Laing

During this month long celebration of our feathered visitors to Grand Bahama Island, the Garden will hold its third annual IMBD art competition. In order to give students ample time, entries will be available as of Monday, October 7th, 2013 at school offices or at Garden of the Groves. Students (seniors and middle school) should present an original piece on poster size while primary and pre-school may submit a letter size painting. They should be either oil, crayon or water coulour and adhere to this year’s theme “Life cycles of migratory birds”. All artwork will be exhibited in the chapel at Garden of the Groves where a panel of judges will select first, second and third place winners in four school divisions. Prizes range from tablets with web cam, wi-fi etc. to medals.

Last year's winner of IMBD art competition, Vernesse Henderson and her proud parents

There are a variety of other activities during the month of October that focus on the extraordinary journey and life cycle of migratory bird species. We have planned guided tours and presentations where participants will receive posters, colouring books, bird bands and stickers. A small fee of $ 3.00 is charged for students and parents, however, teachers are again admitted free of charge. A portion of all proceeds is donated to SCSCB. Mrs. Erika Gates of Garden of the Groves states: “We are very grateful to the SCSCB for their outstanding work in education and bird conservation throughout the Bahamas and the Caribbean and we are giving back to this wonderful organization!”

IMBD co-ordinator, Mrs. Marilyn Laing, welcomes migratory Northern Parula at Garden of the Groves after long journey from North America

And for the adults that would like to learn more about birds, their habitats, identification and conservation, the annual “Basic Birding Class” begins during IMBD month. This class has been sponsored by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Grand Bahama Nature Tours for the past 10 years and runs four consecutive Saturday mornings from 8am until 12 noon, beginning October 26th, 2013. Erika Gates, certified Bahama Birding Guide, will be conducting classes and fieldtrips.

For further information on all IMBD events please call the Garden of the Groves 374-7778 or email info@thegardenofthegroves.com

Erika Gates interpreting migration routes for students

The educational colouring book, sponsored by SCSCB, were distributed again this year

Erika Gates is owner of Kayak Nature Tours (one of the first Eco-Tour businesses in The Bahamas); co-founder of the Ecotourism Association; a published writer; and a Cacique award winner! Her column Bird Talk will enlighten and educate us about birds of The Bahamas, as well as the importance of Ecology. Erika can be reached at gbntours@hotmail.com or (242) 373-2485

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Bird Talk - Erika Gates
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