22nd Annual Christmas Bird Count in Honour of the Late Erika Gates
- Feb 1, 2022 - 8:05:23 PM
In December 2021 and January 2022, the Grand Bahama Island Birders
(GBIB) group conducted its 22nd annual Christmas Bird Count. This was
the first time that GBIB had to accomplish this feat without our
fearless leader and beloved mentor, Erika Gates. Erika passed recently
after several months of battling cancer. The membership of GBIB is still
reeling from our loss. We extend our sincere condolences to her devoted
husband, Ed Gates and her family and the many who benefited from her
mentorship and loving spirit.
As a result of teaching a basic birding class in partnership with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism...
Grand Bahama Island Birders' 2018 Fall/Winter Events
- Dec 9, 2018 - 10:52:25 AM
One of the autumn highlights for GBIBs was Cornell University's "Big
Day" event on October 6th where more than 17000 birders in 146 countries
observed 6136 species of birds during a 24 hour period. This number
represented more than half of the world's species and was the highest
count for a single day of October birding ever! With so may endemic
species in our region, the West Indies which includes the Bahamas, are
essential to this world-wide birding effort. Puerto Rico turned the
tables on the Bahamas this year tallying 146 over 141 species...
Grand Bahama Birders enjoying a busy May
- Jun 16, 2017 - 2:21:26 PM
GLOBAL BIG DAY is a celebration of birds. By bringing people together in
observing and counting birds, this day showcases the wonderful birds
from all regions of the world – helping bring awareness to birding and
Birds are inspiring creatures. Their
amazing migrations and behaviours capture our imagination and their
global presence lets us appreciate them wherever we are in the world.
The power that birds have, to bring people together across cultures,
languages and international borders is truly exceptional!
Grand Bahama Birders visit Inagua
- Mar 24, 2017 - 12:49:16 PM
A group of Grand Bahama birders recently travelled to Inagua to observe a
number of birds that are never or rarely seen on other family islands.
The trip was organized by Erika Gates, Delores Kellman, Martha
Cartwright and Judith Dawkins.
The group was met on arrival in
Inagua by three certified, professional birding guide: Tarra Lindo,
Casper Burros and Vivian Moultrie. These three would guide the group
over the next three days.
The guides were certified under a 1 ½
year training program organized by the Bahamas National Trust and the
American Audubon Association.
Annual Grand Bahama Birdcount involves visiting and local birders
- Jan 13, 2017 - 12:36:08 PM
For the past 16 years, Grand Bahama has participated in the so-called
“Christmas Bird Count”, a census that began 116 years ago in the United
States and now includes all the Canadian Provinces, the Caribbean,
Bahamas, South America as well as several Pacific islands.
year’s count shattered records and resulted in 2408 counts where 71659
observers recorded over 66 million birds of 2403 species!
Between December 15th and January 5th on one chosen day, birds are counted within a 15 mile circle from sunrise to sunset...
Lucaya International School receives Wildlife Habitat Certification
- Jun 25, 2016 - 1:39:13 PM
To help reconnect today’s students to the outdoors, the
National Wildlife Federation assists schools in developing outdoor
classrooms where educators and students learn how to attract and support
These wildlife habitats become places where students not only learn
about wildlife species and ecosystems, but they also hone their academic
skills and nurture their innate curiosity and creativity.
To meet the criteria for certification the students had to create a
Wildlife Habitat that provides a number of specific elements for each of
the followings habitat essentials...
Grand Bahama Birders participate in Global Big Day
- May 20, 2016 - 12:34:44 PM
Freeport, Bahamas - Once again Grand Bahama Birders were given the
opportunity to participate in Global Big Day, an event organized by
Cornell University’s Ornithology Department.
The Bahamas was one
of 144 countries from around the world where birders went into the field
all day on May 14th counting and recording birds and submitting them to
eBird, the world’s largest ornithological data base.
day, globally, 15767 participants recorded 6230 species. The Bahamas
recorded 120 species for the day which represented an encouraging
increase of 40 species over last year. The honour of having observed
Grand Bahama Birdcount unites local birders and visitors
- Jan 29, 2016 - 11:44:45 AM
For the past 15 years Grand
Bahama Island has participated in what has become known as “Christmas Bird
Count” a census that began 115 years ago in the United States and now includes
Canada and the Bahamas. Between December 15th
and January 5th
birds are counted within a circle of 15 miles from sunrise to sunset. This year
over 60.000 participants observed and recorded birds in their respective
countries thereby contributing valuable information to the longest running
database in ornithology.
The primary objective of the
annual count is to monitor the status and distribution of bird populations
across the Western Hemisphere. When results of the count are entered into the
Audubon database we begin to gain a clearer picture how bird populations have
changed over the years...
Grand Bahama Birding Group visits Freeport Sites
- Dec 8, 2015 - 11:00:17 PM
During the groups November
fieldtrip several sites within the Freeport area were visited and exciting new
finds were recorded.
At the Ruby Golf Course a new
bird for most of the participants was a Savannah Sparrow, a small seed-eating
migrant that may begin its fall journey as far north as Alaska or the arctic
circle and travel all the way to Southern California, Mexico, Florida and the Bahamas
to spend the winter. Everybody had a good view of this long-distance traveler
as it perched comfortably in a small bush for the longest time. 16 species were
observed at the Ruby...
Grand Bahama Birding Group following Spring Migration
- May 29, 2015 - 11:10:31 AM
The May fieldtrip of sixteen
birders from the Grand Bahama Birding Group led by Erika Gates, resulted in 34
species and mixed emotions about several of the birds observed during their
trip to the eastern part of Grand Bahama.
Their first stop at the
Pelican Point settlement evoked excitement as many in the group had not seen
the striking male Bobolinks which travel in flocks from their wintering grounds
in the Argentinian grasslands and grain fields to the Northern U.S. and Canada
to raise their families. They only linger a few days on Grand Bahama, passing
through to rest and feed on seeds and berries, their favourite food easily
crunched up with their conical bills. The birders were able to observe a mixed
flock of 35 males and females.
Another happy sight was the
circling of endemic Bahama Swallows over Pelican Point...
Fall Migration in Full Swing at Garden of the Groves
- Nov 13, 2015 - 12:48:57 PM
Freeport, The Bahamas - Members of the Grand Bahama Birding
Group were treated to a variety of magnificent species during their
October fieldtrip at Garden of the Groves. Erika Gates, who was leading
the group explained that several of the birds observed, only remain on
Grand Bahama for a short time to feed and rest before they continue
their migratory journey further south to the South American continent.
Among these enjoyed by the group were the brilliant-yellow Prothonotary
Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Hermit Thrush while the Black-throated
green Warbler can be seen on Grand Bahama all winter long...
Birding – Better in the Bahamas
- Sep 25, 2015 - 11:25:02 AM
Throughout the summer the Bahamas received increasing
attention as a birding destination through a variety of events staged by
people as well as birds!
For the first time in 51 years Woodstorks were seen on Grand Bahama
Island! Another rarity was the Roseate Spoonbill. Both species enjoyed
the rain-filled wetlands at the Freeport Pine Ridge Landfill. They were
first observed by Lou Carroll, the General Manager of the facility who
is making sure that birds and their habitat are respected by his staff
and given a wide berth by heavy equipment!
Birding Fieldtrip to West Grand Bahama
- Apr 9, 2015 - 6:44:58 PM
The recent fieldtrip by the
Grand Bahama Birding Group, led by Erika Gates, took enthusiastic participants
to several productive birding sites in the western part of Grand Bahama Island.
The first stop was the
mangrove wetland between Paradise Cove and the Westend Highway where 14 species
were observed. A Reddish Egret and a
Tricolored Heron were exciting new species for several of the birders...
Grand Bahama Bird Count unites local birders and visitors
- Jan 21, 2015 - 11:01:00 PM
For the past 15 years
Grand Bahama Island has participated in the so-called “Christmas Bird
Count” a census that began 115 years ago in the United States and now
includes Canada, the Bahamas, Caribbean, South and Central America.
Between December 15th and January 5th on one chosen day, birds are
counted within a circle of 15 miles from sunrise to sunset. This year
over 60.000 participants observed and recorded birds in their respective
countries thereby contributing valuable information to the longest
running database in ornithology.
primary objective of the annual count is to monitor the status and
distribution of bird populations across the Western Hemisphere. When
results of the count are entered into the Audubon database we begin to
gain a clearer picture how bird populations have changed over the years.
The information is also vital for conservation.
Garden of the Groves concludes International Migratory Bird Events of 2014
- Dec 31, 2014 - 1:54:09 PM
Grand Bahama Island - This is the sixth year since the restoration of
the Garden that International Migratory Bird events have been celebrated
by Garden of the Groves. This year’s theme was “Why Birds matter” and
Erika Gates, Co-ordinator of the events, explained that the message she
and her team was getting across in all activities was that birds make
life better in so many ways. She went on to say that “Birds are
providers of invaluable ecosystem services, such as insect control, seed
dispersal, pollination. Birdwatching and Bird Photography helps
generate millions of dollars into international economies. Also, birds
bring solace to our complicated world!”
Garden of the Groves celebrating the annual miracle of bird migration
- Nov 20, 2014 - 4:12:36 PM
Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - During November of each year
nature enthusiasts, conservation leaders, researchers and bird lovers
throughout the Bahamas and the Caribbean promote public awareness of the
amazing journeys that birds undertake each year. Birds fly over thousands of
miles between their breeding grounds in North America and Canada and their
winter homes in the Bahamas, the Caribbean and South America.
It has become a tradition
over the past six years at Garden of the Groves to host a variety of events
during this time and Mrs. Marilyn Laing, coordinator, states: “We want to share
the message of bird conservation with the Grand Bahama community and we offer
bird and conservation related activities for all ages throughout the month whereby
we focus on education, fun and exercise!”
Grand Bahama 'Basic Birding Class' set for November 1st
- Oct 15, 2014 - 12:00:48 AM
Bahaas - One of the events during our annual International Migratory
Bird Celebration at Garden of the Groves is the "Basic Birding Class"!
the past 13 years more than 150 residents from the Grand Bahama
community have participated in these most enjoyable and educational
classes. The program is sponsored by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and
Grand Bahama Nature Tours and yours truly will be the instructor.
Classes begin Nov. 1st and run for five consecutive Saturdays, beginning
at 8 am with two hours theory, followed by two hour fieldtrips.
primary focus of our birding class is to master the challenge and the
process of bird identification. In a classroom setting, the proper...
Birding at Grand Bahama's "Delightful Dump"
- Sep 18, 2014 - 1:41:07 PM
One of Grand Bahama's
productive birding sites is the local landfill, operated by Sanitation
Services. Lou Carroll, the General Manager who loves birds, and Jason
Albury, the Landfill Manager, make sure that their heavy collection
trucks and other machinery avoid the wetland patches created by rain,
that provide food and habitat for the resident and migratory bird
species! As the matter of fact when you look at the photos of the birds
and their environment you may think that you are in a national park
rather than at the dump!
Of course one of the most abundant species that you can find at most
landfills is the Laughing Gull, a resident of the Bahamas. These birds
surround the tractors which distribute delectable edibles for them. When
you look up along the high elevation created by years of garbage and
now covered by grasse
"Go Wild - Go Birding" on Grand Bahama Island
- Jun 4, 2014 - 10:33:33 PM
Bahamas - This month's field trip of the Grand Bahama Birding Group
began with a survey of a Wilson's Plover nest on Discovery Beach. Each
summer we cordon off this area with stakes, caution tape and signs as it
has been a favourite nesting area of Wilson's Plovers and Least Terns
and eggs and babies could be easily crushed by cars that may park on
this dune to enjoy the view.
The first bird to lay its eggs this year on April 25th was a Wilson's
Plover and she was sitting on three eggs when we arrived that morning,
perfectly camouflaged, blending in with the environment. The nest was
monitored over the next weeks and on May 26 (32 days later) the first
chick hatched, fully feathered with the markings of its parents, walking
around the "scrape" in the sand where its siblings were yet to be born!
On the 33rd day the second...
Out West, the Birding is Great!
- Apr 3, 2014 - 12:53:28 PM
The recent field trip
by the Grand Bahama Birding Group to the western end of the island
resulted in several "life birds" for members of the group.
Mr. Derek Gape, director at the Ginn development at West End had opened
up the property to the birders to survey the many ponds in the area.
Among the 40 species recorded that morning, a Northern Harrier Hawk was
one of the new birds to be recorded swooping low over one of the ponds
The group then became mesmerized by a pair of rare Swallow-tailed Kites
sitting side by side in a Casuarina tree, allowing everybody to get
excellent views for at least 15 minutes.