Festive times for Caribbean birds
The annual Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival celebrated its fourth year in style as record numbers of people participated in a wide-range of events held across the region.
The festival took place between 22 April and 22 May 2005, and was coordinated by the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB). 16,772 people participated in 218 activities held across twelve countries – almost as many people as took part in total in the first three festivals.
Events included birdwatching activities, workshops for schoolchildren, art competitions, lectures and TV programmes. The festival was a particularly happy time for the National Trust for the Cayman Islands and the Cayman Islands Bird Club, whose $250,000 proposal to buy forest land on Cayman Brac was submitted and granted.
"The Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival keeps going from strength to strength. This year's record number of participants demonstrates the depth of local feeling for the region's unique birds." —David Wege, Caribbean Programme Manager, BirdLife
Other conservation projects in the Caribbean have also recently benefited from grants from the BP Conservation Programme (BPCP).
Project Pawi winner of a $14,500 Gold Award in the recent BP Conservation Awards, will work on the recovery of the Critically Endangered Trinidad Piping-guan Pipile pipile. Local Trinidadians will be involved to ensure that the project’s outputs are feasible and to increase the capacity of students and volunteers by involving them in field work and analysis. The project aims to develop a pragmatic recovery plan for the species (known locally as the "Pawi"); as well as the long-term means to carry it out.
In Cuba, a $7,500 Bronze Award-winning team working on the Southeastern Cuba: A Unique Bird Habitat project will be working to improve a network of protected areas, while also attempting to rediscover the Cuban Parauque Siphonorhis daiquiri (known only from fossil evidence discovered in 1985). They will also be searching for the Critically Endangered Cuban Kite Chondrohierax wilsonii, as well as establishing the population sizes and distributions of four other bird species. The problems of insufficient resources and funding, a lack of trained field conservation personnel, and a lack of priority sites for endangered species are pressing issues in the southeastern region. The team hopes that their efforts will help establish the resources and infrastructure necessary to enable Important Bird Areas programmes to develop throughout Cuba and the Caribbean.