Thousands of people throughout the region had fun experiences with birds and nature over the past month during the Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival. Dozens of festival events took place on different islands to celebrate the birds that live only here.
Activities were held for pre-school and primary students to adults and families. Bird talks were held on many islands to help people understand the unique birds that live only on specific islands or only in the region. Guided bird walks brought people of all ages out into nature to see these amazing birds firsthand. For many, it was their first chance to get an up-close view of birds through binoculars or a scope.
Other activities were as diverse as the region itself. In the Dominican Republic, The Peregrine Fund hosted Ridgway’s Hawk Day to celebrate the endangered Ridgway’s Hawk, that lives only on Hispaniola. In Trinidad, bird education was brought to the streets with bird education stand at a local market hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalist Club. In Puerto Rico, a special training workshop at the Centro Educativo del Corredor del Yaguazo gave teachers learning tools about birds to use in classes year-round. On St. Martin, festival attendees planted coconut trees with Environmental Protection in the Caribbean and painted bird feeders with Les Fruits de Mer.
Other groups that held events this year in Puerto Rico included Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Programa del Estuario de la Bahia de San Juan, Sociedad Ornitológica Puertorriqueña Inc., Centro Ambiental Santa Ana, Sociedad de Historia Natural de Puerto Rico, Proyecto: Reverdece Tu Comunidad – University of Puerto Rico Ponce Campus, and Universitarios Pro-Ambiente y Biodiversidad (UPABi) UPR-Ponce. In Dominica, the Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division held events, as did Grupo Acción Ecológica in the Dominican Republic. Environmental Awareness Group hosted events in Antigua and Barbuda. Caribbean neighbors Fundación Científica Ara Macao in Venezuela and the Bermuda Audobon Society also hosted activities.
The Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival is one of the Caribbean’s only regional events about birds and nature. It is organized by BirdsCaribbean each spring, and dozens of non-profits, schools, parks and other organizations develop events in their communities.
Endemic birds—those that live only on one island or within a small range—are at special risk of extinction. The Caribbean is home to many endemic species, and many are already in danger.