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


Garden of the Groves celebrates "International Migratory Bird Day in the Caribbean"
By Erika Gates
Oct 27, 2008 - 1:27:00 PM

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Blackpoll Warbler

On Saturday, Oct 18th the Grand Bahama Birding Group gathered at Garden of the Groves to observe migratory birds that have arrived for the winter. International Migratory Bird Day is a celebration of the spectacular journey that migratory birds take between their summer and winter homes. The event is sponsored by the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds and Bird Life International.
 
Many species of migratory birds spend the winter here or migrate through the Caribbean. They rely on food, water and shelter provided in our forest, scrub and wetland habitats for up to nine months out of the year.
 
One of those tiny birds making an astonishing journey is the Blackpoll Warbler (Dendroica striata), a small, active songbird. It breeds in the forest habitat in Alaska and Canada and winters in northern South America. Blackpoll Warblers undertake the longest migration of any warbler with some individuals tavelling over 5000 miles from Alaska to Brazil. Interestingly, almost the total population of Blackpolls migrates past the Lesser Antilles on its journey southward between October and November, however, when migrating back up north in April and May, we find many of them passing through our island which also signals the end of spring migration.
 
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Black-throated Blue Warbler

Amongst the 30 species of birds that were spotted at the Garden of the Groves 14 were migrants that either remain on Grand Bahama Island for the winter or will be passing on to South America. You will have the chance to observe the following migratory species throughout the winter at the Garden:  American Redstart, Black-throated blue Warbler, Black and White Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Northern Parula, Ovenbird, Palm Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Catbird. Amongst the transients observed were Baltimore Oriole, Scarlet Tanager, Tennessee Warbler.
 
After about three hours of birding the birders gathered for pastry and coffee on the beautiful new cafe deck at the Garden overlooking the waterfalls. They filled in their checklists with any new species that they spotted during that morning. Erika Gates, who organized the event, issued certificates "Birds of the Bahamas" to those birders that had reached their lifetime goals of spotting 50, 80 or 100 species.This program is sponsored by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Garden of the Groves and encourages birders to "get out there and birdwatch"! Everybody had a good time while enjoying the birds as well as the tranquility of the Garden!
 
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Baltimore Oriole

Garden of the Groves is conducting monthly birdwalks for members of the Garden on the last Saturday of each month, beginning this November. For more information on becoming a "Friend of the Garden" or our spring Basic Birding Class contact 242-374-7778.

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Bird Talk - Erika Gates
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