President’s Message

BirdsCaribbean President Leo Douglas.
BirdsCaribbean President Leo Douglas.
Welcome to the new BirdsCaribbean website!

Twenty years ago, when I became a member of BirdsCaribbean I did not imagine that one day I would be president. However, the things that attracted me to the organization then are very much a part of why I am even more committed to the organization now – BirdsCaribbean is a vibrant international network of members and partners deeply committed to conserving wild birds of the Caribbean and their habitats. My first BirdsCaribbean conference was nothing but life altering. Never had I been surrounded by such a diverse gathering of cultures, languages, academics and non-academics all vested in sound science, education, and capacity building towards creating a region where people appreciate, conserve and benefit from thriving bird populations and ecosystems.

Our programs, such as the Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival, Caribbean Waterbird Census, West Indian Whistling Duck and Wetlands Program, and International Migratory Bird Day reach more than 100,000 people each year; positively influencing attitudes to conservation, changing people’s lives and contributing to our knowledge of Caribbean birds. We have trained partners from over 30 countries in outreach and education, research and monitoring techniques, sustainable tourism, and habitat conservation. We have raised funds to conserve some of the region’s most threatened species, such as the Grenada Dove, and successfully advocated for greater protection of the region’s birds, such as the West Indian Whistling-Duck and migratory shorebirds.

Nevertheless today the needs are possibly greater than ever. Hard battles won to conserve natural areas in parks and protected areas are crumbling under tough economic policies. Old ills of hunting, trade, and the persecution of species perceived as pests (e.g., parrots) are surfacing region-wide. Even more disturbing is the very image of environmental conservation as a positive; it is sometimes misconstrued as a barrier to the alleviation of poverty.

This purpose of this new website is to connect us with you—our valued members, partners and friends. Our expectation is that it will inform you of our efforts and inspire you to participate in our programs. This beta version is a work in progress and will eventually feature many more details of our programs and downloadable resources. We encourage you to check back often. Sign up to receive our periodic updates and let us know how we can make improvements.

Above all we encourage you to get involved. Signify your commitment by joining us as a member or renewing your membership today. Take a look at our new strategic plan and let us know how you think you can contribute by providing expertise, funding, and/or assistance.

Come join us as we shape the future of Caribbean bird conservation!

I’ll be looking for you on our website, Facebook pages, instagram, twitter and at our workshops, training sessions, conferences and meetings.

Sincerely,

Leo Douglas