Frigatebirds return to Barbuda

Frigatebirds, Codrington Lagoon, Barbuda. Image: Sailing Nomad.
Biodiversity

After the devastation of Hurricane Irma in 2017, most of Barbuda’s frigatebird population disappeared from the island’s Codrington Lagooon, which is said to be the second-largest frigatebird nesting site outside the Galapagos. The BBC reports that frigatebirds have begun returning to Barbuda:

The aptly named magnificent frigatebirds are famed for their colossal 7ft (2.1m) wingspan and the males’ spectacular show of flirting by puffing out their throats into a bright red balloon during mating season.

They have called this pristine, peaceful area on Antigua’s sister island home for as long as residents can remember.

Happily, the birds have started to return and even build nests in the fragile, decaying stumps of the once luscious trees. Numbers are now set to rise further thanks to an imminent mangrove restoration project being funded by a team of four transatlantic rowers who are also ardent local environmentalists.

In January, Team Antigua completed the gruelling 3,000-mile (4,800km) Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge race from the Canary Islands to Antigua in just 30 days, taking second place.

John Watt, Scott Potter, Nico Psihoyos and Eli Fuller raised more than $150,000 (£112,000) towards their goal of creating a marine park in Antigua.

“We decided to give a third of the money to Barbuda and we were keen for it to be an environmental project,” Mr Fuller explains.

“The bird sanctuary is critically important for Codrington economically. And ecologically, you won’t find many places as crucial as Barbuda. It’s not just birds – it’s a vital nesting ground for critically endangered hawksbill turtles too.”

Find out more in the full BBC report.

[Image: Sailing Nomad]

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