On the island of St. Martin, near the top of the Lesser Antilles, the flagship International Migratory Bird Day event is the Migratory Bird Festival hosted by local association Les Fruits de Mer. St. Martin is an island with numerous salt ponds, a feature that has been an important part of the island from prehistoric times until quite recently. The Arawak people were the first to harvest salt on the island, even naming it Soualiga or “Land of Salt.” Salt production was the primary economic activity during the colonial era and continued until the middle of the 20th century.
Of course, the same attributes that make ponds great for salt production—especially large areas of shallow water—make them great foraging areas for many migratory birds. With this in mind, Les Fruits de Mer have released a free ebook called Pond Life that features seven birds that live on St. Martin’s ponds. You can download the book and visit Les Fruits de Mer’s website for other ebooks and downloadable resources.
Caribbean celebrations of International Migratory Bird Day happen throughout the fall, which is a peak migratory time for the region. October is the busiest month for these celebrations, so keep an eye on this blog for more updates about IMBD events happening throughout the region.