BirdsCaribbean Hurricane Relief Fund—Accepting Applications to Help Birds and Habitats Recover

Normally lush and green, Trafalger Falls in Dominica, the nature isle, suffered serious damage to natural areas from Hurricane Maria (photo by Mark Lopez)
Normally lush and green, Trafalger Falls in Dominica, the nature isle, suffered serious damage to natural areas from Hurricane Maria (photo by Mark Lopez)

The islands of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico and the surrounding marine areas provide essential habitats for many migratory and resident birds, including endemics that occur nowhere else in the world. In September 2017, many islands in the eastern and central Caribbean were ravaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The impacts on human livelihoods, infrastructure, homes and businesses are being addressed to some extent by governments and the traditional relief agencies. The impacts on natural habitats, species, conservationists and conservation projects are harder to assess and quantify, but no less dire. Thanks to many generous donors to our Hurricane Relief Fund, BirdsCaribbean has established a fund to aid the recovery of birds and bird habitats by supporting conservationists and recovery projects on hurricane-affected islands.


  1. To provide resources to advance the recovery and ongoing conservation of birds and their habitats on islands affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
  2. To assist conservationists working on these islands regain capacity lost in the hurricane and necessary to undertake recovery and conservation projects.


Grants from the fund are available to BirdsCaribbean members and partners or individuals/groups undertaking work on the islands seriously damaged by Irma and Maria: Dominica, Barbuda, Anguilla, St. Eustatius, St. Barts, St. Kitts, Saba, St Martin/Sint Maarten, British and US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands, and Cuba.  Applicants may be non-government organizations, government agencies, or private individuals, based on or off the islands in question.


Projects must contribute to the conservation of any Caribbean birds and their habitats affected by hurricanes. Preferred projects are those that will benefit threatened endemic species (island or regional), and local or regionally significant populations or species of conservation concern (migrants and/or residents).  Activities that help in the recovery of Important Bird Areas, Key Biodiversity Areas, Ramsar sites, mangroves, or Protected Areas are also preferred.

Blue-headed Hummingbird, endemic to Dominica and Martinique. Very few individuals have been seen since Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Dominica. (photo by Paul Reillo)
Blue-headed Hummingbird, endemic to Dominica and Martinique. Very few individuals have been seen since Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Dominica. (photo by Paul Reillo)

Other criteria that BirdsCaribbean will consider include:

  • Does the project address an immediate, short-term conservation issue that was caused or exacerbated by the hurricanes?
  • Are objectives and activities associated with the expenditure clearly linked?
  • Is the request realistic and reasonable? Has there been an effort to leverage these funds to raise funds from other sources?
  • Does the applicant have sufficient experience and organizational skills needed to complete the activities outlined in the request?
  • Does the request show evidence of thoughtful planning and details?


The BirdsCaribbean Hurricane Relief Fund is positioned to support small grants – up to US$5,000. Expenditures should be immediate (as soon as funding has been received) and ideally completed within 6-12 months.  Larger grants of up to $10,000 may be considered but will require a more detailed application. Matching funds are not required but contributions should be documented where possible.


Requests may be made of the fund at any time. Requests will be reviewed and granted on a rolling basis (that is, first come, first served) until funds are exhausted.


Recipient will acknowledge receipt of funds and confirm their expenditure. Project recipients will be expected to document their activities with photographs and post updates on Facebook if they have access to the internet. A short blog article describing your activities for BirdsCaribbean’s monthly Newsletter is also requested.


If you have questions about eligible activities or requests for assistance (e.g., advice on how best to carry out surveys and monitoring), please contact BirdsCaribbean Executive Director, Lisa Sorenson (


 Funding must be used for short-term activities that are directly related to assessment of or recovery from hurricane impacts.

  1. Assessment of impacts and identification of conservation needs for birds and their habitat post hurricanes; e.g., surveys, assessments, and monitoring of high-priority species and their habitats that may have been affected by the storms.
  2. Implementation of conservation/recovery actions; e.g. habitat clean-ups, clearing of trails, and restoration or enhancement work, such as re-planting of mangroves and native trees lost in the storms.
  3. Emergency support for vulnerable species; e.g., feeding programs for endemic parrots in damaged forests.
  4. Provision of shortfalls to pre-existing projects that are facing issues as a result of hurricane damage; e.g., loss of materials, infrastructure or equipment
  5. Capacity restoration; e.g., office and field equipment which was lost or damaged in the storm, such as binoculars, scopes and tripods, computers, cameras, backpacks, GPS units, etc. or materials for community outreach and education.
  6. Restoration of infrastructure that supports nature-based livelihoods damaged by the hurricane; e.g., repairs to boardwalks, blinds, etc., especially in parks and protected areas.
  7. Implementation of outreach and education events that raise awareness about the impacts of storms and climate change on wildlife and ecosystems and how local people can help; e.g., promoting citizen science monitoring using eBirdCaribbean and iNaturalist (especially important in the wake of hurricanes), feeding birds to help them survive post-hurricane food shortages, planting native trees that are beneficial to wildlife, promoting recycling, planting of native trees, and energy conservation, advocacy for properly-planned post-hurricane development, etc.
  8. Other

*The following list is not in order of priority.


(Submit as an attachment or in the body of an email and send to: and BirdsCaribbean Hurricane Relief Fund Request Form.

TOTAL Request*:  $US __________

If request is for materials rather than cash (e.g., equipment or supplies, please provide specifics).  Note:  BirdsCaribbean can assist with the purchase of discounted binoculars, spotting scopes/tripods and some other items).


  1. What type of activity is associated with this request? See list of Types of Activities above.


  1. Provide a brief explanation of the request, including an explanation of how will the funds be used, your desired outcomes, and expected benefits (to birds, habitats and people).


  1. If the request supports multiple items or activities, please provide a brief explanation of budget, e.g., a simple table.  There is no requirement for matching funds but where they exist in cash or in-kind please document them, as this will help BirdsCaribbean raise further funds.











Briefly note your experience in managing similar projects:



Provide names of other project leads, partners, sponsors, or any mentors who will be assisting with this project:



**Applicants may request funds for materials, travel, equipment, and repairs or restoration work. Stipends may be requested to pay for someone’s time if they are not already employed and volunteers are not available, or to pay persons who lost their primary source of income due to the hurricane and are willing to work short-term on your project for a small amount of pay (please justify). Stipends should be reasonable, e.g., $50-100/day to complete the work)