9th Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival

The Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB) is celebrating the 9th Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival (CEBF), which began yesterday, April 22 (Earth Day), and will continue through May 22 (International Biodiversity Day), 2010. The festival’s main objectives are to raise public awareness and appreciation of the region’s high endemism and rich bird life as well as spread the message about the importance of conserving birds and their habitats.

Held for the first time in 2002, the festival is celebrated through a variety of activities such as bird watching walks, art and photo exhibitions and competitions, radio quizzes, presentations at local schools, bird calling contests, articles in the media, beach clean-ups, tree plantings, workshops on birds, ecology games, preparation and distribution of educational materials to the general public, and more. More than 20 countries have planned related activities simultaneously.

In 2010, the theme is “The Power of Partnerships,” following the theme adopted by the International Migratory Bird Day for this year. The highly successful program that attracts some 80,000 participants and volunteers each year, this year aims to celebrate the important role that partnerships—local, regional and global—have played in bird conservation success stories. President of the SCSCB Dr. Lisa Sorenson notes that, although the Caribbean is recognized as one of the richest areas on the planet for biodiversity, especially birds—some 150 bird species are only found on Caribbean islands—an unsettling 56 of these species are globally threatened with extinction, due to destruction of habitat for development, pollution, mining, and other unsustainable uses. In addition, some birds are threatened with poaching or capture for the pet trade. Sorenson stresses that “We have many inspiring stories of successful bird conservation collaborations.”

There are numerous examples of partnerships in the Caribbean (national, regional and international) that have helped conserve species such as the Cahow (Bermuda Petrel), White-crowned Pigeon, Grenada Hook-billed Kite, Puerto Rican Nightjar, Bicknell’s Thrush, Rose-throated Parrot, Hispaniolan Parrot, Puerto Rican Parrot, Black-capped Petrel, Kirtland’s Warbler, Grenada Dove, Ridgeway’s Hawk, Montserrat Oriole, Piping Plover, Trinidad Piping Guan, West Indian Whistling-Duck, and many more.

[Shown here: Puerto Rican parrot and Montserrat oriole.]

For more information, see http://www.scscb.org/ and http://www.birdlife.org/action/awareness/cebf/index.html

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