Freeport, Bahamas - During the month of October the Garden of the Groves joined forces
with local school teachers and birding enthusiasts to promote public awareness
surrounding the incredible phenomenon of bird migration.
Each year millions of birds, representing hundreds of species,
travel between North America, the Caribbean, the Bahamas and back. Approximately
350 species of birds that breed in North America migrate each year to spend the
winter in Latin America and the Caribbean. As a group they are referred to as
Neotropical migratory birds and they include many species of songbirds, hawks,
egrets and duck. Additionally a smaller number of species migrate from South
America into the Caribbean to breed during the summer. The Caribbean
therefore shares these species with North and South America and many spend
the greater portion of each year in the Bahamas (up to 9 months annually)
compared to the time they spend outside of the region.
The program, lead by the Society for the Conservation and Study of
Caribbean Birds (SCSCB) is the third celebration of what is known as
International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD). The Society, the largest organization
devoted to wildlife conservation in the Caribbean, coordinated and sponsored
the month-long events and activities.
After lecture and field trip at Garden of the Groves, students
from Maurice Moore Primary School receive a high quality. educational
colouring book featuring 41 beautiful drawings of migratory birds that
occur in the Caribbean along with brief text about each species.
During October a number of local schools seized the
opportunity to participate in an informative IMBD session, fieldtrip and
introduction to birding at Garden of the Groves. These were Grace Christian
Academy, Grace Bible School, Calvary Academy, Bishop Michael Eldon School,
Maurice Moore School, Growing Years, Alpha & Omega School, St. John Jubilee
School, St. Johns Doral Road. Over 300 children were introduced by Mrs. Marilyn
Laing, coordinator of the childrens' events, to the amazing journeys that
migratory birds take each year.
There were three exciting events for the adults as well - on
October 2nd, 16th and 30th groups of birders were guided by Erika Gates to
different locations to observe birds in general with a focus on migratory
species in particular. Amongst the over 60 species observed 35 migrants
were recorded during the field trips. Mrs. Gates also lectured
participants on the amazing routes of migration and how people can
contribute to habitat conservation that will continue to allow birds to spend
the winter in the Bahamas.
Erika Gates introduces birders to the amazing migratory
routes and distances that birds travel each year
Gates remarks: "We, on Grand Bahama play only a small role in the
vast effort of bird conservation, however, we are in full support of SCSCB and
the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act that was passed by the US
Government in 2000". President of SCSCB, Dr. Lisa Sorenson, who has been working
in the Bahamas and Caribbean for 25 years as an ecologist and conservation
biologist, emphasizes:" Because we are dealing with birds that change the
country in which they live twice a year, every year, both local, regional and
international partnerships are essential components of any conservation effort."
Under the Act matching grants of approximately U.S. 5 million dollars are
made available for public and private partnership projects that promote the
long-term conservation of Neotropical migratory birds and their
During IMBD birders surveying beaches on Grand Bahama for
Birders receiving certificates "Birds of the Bahamas",
sponsored by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Garden of the Groves.
Jill Cooper (center) recorded the most species on her "life list" and
also received the IMBD 2010 t-shirt
Straw artisan, Mrs. Forbes, got into the IMBD fever and had
artist Ivan Reid draw migratory birds onto bags, hats and portfolios
that she produces at the Garden of the Groves
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
email@example.com or (242) 373-2485