Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

New Sightings Prove Rare Bahama Bird Not Yet Extinct

Animals

A rare bird some feared extinct has been found by research teams at University of East Anglia (UEA) and University of the Bahamas-North after an extensive search, but that doesn't mean the endangered species is out of the woods, UEA reported Thursday.


The Bahama nuthatch nests only in the native pine forest of Grand Bahama island. Their numbers fell from 1,800 in 2004 to 23 in 2007 because of habitat loss due to tree clearing and, increasingly, damage from hurricanes.

Then, in 2016, Hurricane Matthew devastated the Bahamas with 120 miles per hour wind gusts that uprooted trees, The Independent reported.

After the hurricane, no ornithologists could locate the distinctive bird that has a long bill and squeaky call, so many feared the storm had dealt the species' death blow.

But, after more than a month of searching, the UEA researchers proved that was not the case.

"We had been scouring the forest for about six weeks, and had almost lost hope. At that point we'd walked about 400 kilometers (approximately 248.5 miles). Then, I suddenly heard its distinctive call and saw the unmistakable shape of a nuthatch descending towards me. I shouted with joy, I was ecstatic!" UEA master's student Matthew Gardner said.

Gardner was part of one team of searchers with fellow master's student David Pereira. They were supported by Nigel Collar and David Wege from Birdlife International and the Bahamas National Trust.

The other research team consisted of Bahamian students under the leadership of Zeko McKenzie of the University of The Bahamas-North and the support of the American Bird Conservancy.

Between them, the two teams had 11 sightings, and McKenzie's team saw two birds at once, meaning there are at least more than one left.

"However," Gardner cautioned, "these findings place the species on the verge of extinction and certainly amongst the world's most critically endangered birds." Gardner also said there was a chance both birds could be male.

McKenzie hoped that renewed conservation efforts could save the bird.

"Although the Bahama nuthatch has declined precipitously, we are encouraged by the engagement of conservation scientists who are now looking for ways to save and recover the species," she told UEA.

However, Dr. Dianna Bell of UEA's School of Biological Sciences thought it was unlikely the Bahama nuthatch could ultimately be saved.

"But it is still absolutely crucial that conservation efforts in the native Caribbean pine forest do not lapse, as it is such an important habitat for other endemic birds including the Bahama Swallow, Bahama Warbler and Bahama Yellowthroat," she said. She said the habitat was also important for migratory species.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The CDC has emphasized that washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Guido Mieth / Moment / Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control has emphasized that washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective measures we can take in preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, millions of Americans in some of the most vulnerable communities face the prospect of having their water shut off during the lockdowns, according to The Guardian.

Read More Show Less
A California newt (Taricha torosa) from Napa County, California, USA. Connor Long / CC BY-SA 3.0

Aerial photos of the Sierra Nevada — the long mountain range stretching down the spine of California — showed rust-colored swathes following the state's record-breaking five-year drought that ended in 2016. The 100 million dead trees were one of the most visible examples of the ecological toll the drought had wrought.

Now, a few years later, we're starting to learn about how smaller, less noticeable species were affected.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Disinfectants and cleaners claiming to sanitize against the novel coronavirus have started to flood the market.
Natthawat / Moment / Getty Images

Disinfectants and cleaners claiming to sanitize against the novel coronavirus have started to flood the market, raising concerns for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which threatened legal recourse against retailers selling unregistered products, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
A customer packs groceries in reusable bags at a NYC supermarket on March 1, 2020. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

The global coronavirus pandemic has thrown our daily routine into disarray. Billions are housebound, social contact is off-limits and an invisible virus makes up look at the outside world with suspicion. No surprise, then, that sustainability and the climate movement aren't exactly a priority for many these days.

Read More Show Less
Ingredients are displayed for the Old School Pinto Beans from the Decolonize Your Diet cookbook by Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel. Melissa Renwick / Toronto Star via Getty Images

By Molly Matthews Multedo

Livestock farming contributes to global warming, so eating less meat can be better for the climate.

Read More Show Less