Join the Crowd and Support Caribbean Seabirds!

Seabirds are among the most endangered of all vertebrate groups. A new crowdfunding campaign is underway to support three critical scientific projects that will drive new discoveries and aid conservation of these most amazing birds. Please help us succeed!

Roseate Tern, a seabird of conservation concern. (photo by Jenny Daltry)
Roseate Tern, a seabird of conservation concern that breeds in the Caribbean. (photo by Jenny Daltry)

Three projects that will advance conservation of Caribbean seabirds via a crowdfunding grant have just been launched by BirdsCaribbean biologists. Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. According to a study by Massolutions.com, the crowdfunding industry is on track to account for more funding in 2016 than traditional venture capital sources (wealthy investors or financial institutions)! The websites, Kickstarter or Indiegogo, are two of the most well-known crowdsourcing websites, but there are many other sites.

Experiment.com is a crowdfunding site that focuses on promoting “science for the people, by the people.” It recently launched an initiative focused on seabirds, a group of wildlife urgently in need of science-based conservation. The call went out to BirdsCaribbean’s Seabird Working Group to consider projects. Three Caribbean seabird projects were submitted, accepted and are now ready to receive your backing!

The Mystery of the Disappearing Seabirds: Using Science to Protect Caribbean Seabirds

Seabird colony in the northern Bahamas. (photo by Will Mackin).
Seabird colony in the northern Bahamas. (photo by Will Mackin).

This project will seek the causes behind the disappearance of thousands of breeding seabirds in the Northern Bahamas. The project leaders, Will Mackin, Ann Sutton, Margo Zdravkovic, Lisa Sorenson, and Scott Johnson, will use surveys and mark-recapture techniques to find out whether the missing seabirds moved, suffered nesting failure due to invasive predators, or changed their behavior due to disturbance…or some combination of the above. The project builds on work underway by Conservian, an NGO which began a new monitoring and habitat restoration program for coastal birds in the Bahamas in 2016.

Seeking Safer Skies for Haiti’s Rarest Seabird

Habitat in Haiti for the Black-capped Petrel.
Habitat in Haiti for the Black-capped Petrel.

The endangered Diablotin, or Black-Capped Petrel, is the focus of this project. Françoise Benjamin and Juan Carlos Martínez-Sánchez seek to reduce collisions of petrels at communication towers along their breeding colonies in Southern Haiti, a threat brought to light by the International Black-capped Petrel Conservation Group. They will map and characterize communication towers located along known flying corridors and colonies of petrels, record bird collisions through personal observations and interviews, then take their findings to government and industry in order to recommend solutions to this concerning source of mortality.

What Factors Are Causing Seabird Declines in the Grenadines?

Booby chick in the Grenadines.
Booby chick in the Grenadines.

Wayne Smart and Natalia Collier want to determine the causes of documented declines in southern Grenadine seabird populations. In specific, they will look at how human and rat predation affects trends in six different seabird populations located north of Grenada. The findings of this project will be summarized, and made available to the public, and government agencies, in order to recommend and stimulate conservation actions.

Each of these projects has a specific fundraising goal. With Experiment.com, as with most crowdfunding sites, funding is all-or-nothing (that is, pledges by backers are collected only if the fundraising goal is achieved). Experiment.com has designated this initiative as a funding “challenge,” in that it will award additional funds to the three projects (of 15 total seabird projects) that have received the greatest number of backers by 6 PM on August 9th.

So don’t delay – Please support one or all of these worthy projects! Small donations from many people are most welcome as this will help all of us to be in the top 3 of seabird supported projects and win extra funds.

We thank you in advance for your support!

Will Mackin, Ann Sutton, Margo Zdravkovic, Lisa Sorenson, Scott Johnson, Françoise Benjamin, Juan Carlos Martínez-Sánchez, Wayne Smart and Natalia Collier
Members of BirdsCaribbean Seabird Working Group

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