VII Festival of Caribbean Endemic Birds

siffleur

I just discovered—to my absolute delight—that the VII Festival of Caribbean Endemic Birds is being celebrated throughout the region. News of the existence of this festival, of which I knew nothing before, reminded me of the sheer pleasure I felt when I first heard the call of the siflé moutayn in the Morne Trois Pitons in Dominica or when I saw a small flock of the endangered sissserou parrots flying across a small valley in the island’s Syndicate Natural Preserve.

The Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival is an initiative of the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB) that is supported by BirdLife International. The month-long celebration, which usually runs from Earth Day to International Biodiversity Day, was held for the first time in 2002. Through a range of activities and national events this regional festival aims to increase awareness and appreciation of Caribbean birds, and the issues affecting them. The Festival increases public awareness of the importance and value of wild birds, their habitats, biodiversity and the wider Caribbean environment, and through this, is strengthening and growing a network of people engaged in and committed to bird conservation.

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This year, the Festival is being celebrated through a variety of activities meant to share knowledge about the region’s endemic bird species, many of which are on the endangered or threatened lists, and to encourage conservation efforts. In Cuba, groups of children and adults concerned with birds in Havana Province and the Capital City are supporting scientific missions of discovery and protection. They are mapping the numbers and locations of autochthonous and migratory winged species in the “Escalera de Jaruco” orographic cluster, the natural habitat of tocororos, cartacubas, mockingbirds, hummingbirds, white-winged dover, tomeguins, torcazas, and hawks—all of them specimens coveted by poachers. In Dominica, tens of people competed in a bird-calling contest sponsored by the Forestry Division. The Festival concludes on May 22, the International Day of Biodiversity.

For more go to http://www.cubaheadlines.com/2009/05/13/17154/endemic_caribbean_birds_cohabit_escaleras_de_jaruco_havana_province_cuba.html and http://www.dominicanewsonline.com/all_news/entertainment/5859.html

The image of the siflé moutayn by Pierre Courtinard can be found in its original context at http://web.mac.com/pierre.courtinard/vertpays.com/fiche_2_Siffleur.html

2 thoughts on “VII Festival of Caribbean Endemic Birds

  1. Delighted that you mentioned the bird whistling competition in Dominica. There were, however, rather fewer entries than you mentioned; but it was won by my friend Christine Luke who has lived in the island’s rainforest for many years, and whose imitation of the sifle moutayn (aka the rufous-throated solitaire) clearly stunned the judges. The bird’s song as been described by some as like a “creaking gate” which Christine would dispute; and “haunting”. In Jean Rhys’ latest biography, The Blue Hour, she is quoted (I think) as saying that the sifle moutayn had only one note. This is completely innacurate – its song can consist of up to six notes. It’s a great imitator too.

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