Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF) launched the first-ever Saba Bird Fest with a birdthemed family fair on the grounds of Harry L. Johnson Museum on Tuesday. The five-day awareness festival runs September 26-30.
SCF’s Pauline Rainbault said the festival, which is funded by BirdLife Netherlands and supported by the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA), hopes to bring more pride and appreciation for local bird life.
“We have quite a lot of birds on the island which are being taken for granted. So, we want to shine some light on these local birds,” she said. By engaging youth to learn about local birds, Rainbault said, they are able to show appreciation for them. “The national birds are vulnerable, so we need to bring awareness to their vulnerability.” She noted that Saba has one of the largest populations of red-billed tropic-bird (Phaethon aethereus), whose nesting areas can be threatened by rats and feral cats. This is just one of several important local bird populations, Rainbault pointed out, which makes the island marketable as a bird-watching destination.
The festival will continue with a community-based art project during which youngsters, participants in Saba’s LIFE Center program, and local artists have been invited to paint cut-outs of the red-billed tropic bird. “During the open house on Saturday, the birds will be put on display with the idea of creating a connection,” said Rainbault.
The festival will feature an around-the-island guided birding boat tour on Wednesday morning, followed by a presentation by birding expert Binkie Van Es at Topics Cafe 6:30- 7:30 pm. There will be a bird tour through Saba’s dry forest areas on Thursday morning, and a presentation by conservation biologist and bird expert Shanna Challenger at Eugenius Johnson Center 6:00-8:00 pm.
Friday’s activities will include a guided bird tour at the Sulphur Mine and a bird and trivia quiz at Chez Bubba from 6:00-7:15 pm.
The festival will end with a guided bird tour in the rainforest on Saturday morning, and an open house at SCF’s office in Fort Bay from 4:00-7:00 pm.
The Daily Herald.