SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN — At dozens of events on more than 20 islands, people of all ages came together to celebrate and protect their birds. The events were part of the Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival, organized by BirdsCaribbean. The festival highlights endemic birds—the ones found only in the region—and how to protect them.
There are over 170 kinds of bird that live only in the Caribbean. Many of these live only on a single island, and many are rare. The events celebrating these unique birds are also unique. Groups all over the region find different ways to celebrate and learn about these birds.
In Puerto Rico, the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources took part in several events, including walks, talks and crafts. At the Ponce Museum of Art, a special guided tour shared birds and nature in the museum’s artwork. This was the first tour of its kind in the 60 years since the museum was founded.
This year’s festival theme was Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution, and many activities featured cleanups and learning about plastic waste. In Jamaica, the National Environment and Planning Agency led activities and games from the BirdSleuth Caribbean program. These activities help kids learn about the problems that birds face, like plastic debris. In Venezuela, the group Ave Zona held a beach cleanup on Isla de Coche. On the island of St. Martin, kids decorated bird feeders made from reused plastic bottles.
“We are so happy that our 18th Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival reached so many people,” said festival coordinator Eduardo Llegus. “We are especially happy to see the many creative ways people have found to share, honor and help our birds. Our birds are unique symbols of our region. To protect them is to protect our heritage, our nature and our communities.”
The Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival is organized by BirdsCaribbean. Thousands of youth and adults participate each year in activities hosted by dozens of local groups on over 20 islands. For more information, visit http://birdscaribbean.org.
Students learn while playing a game from the BirdSleuth Caribbean program. (Photo by Otto Williamson)
Volunteers clean up the beach at Isla de Coche in Venezuela. (Photo: Ave Zona)
Students in Puerto Rico show off their bird masks. (Photo by Carmen Peña)
Visitors learn about nature in art during a guided tour of Ponce Museum of Art in Puerto Rico. (Photo: Adrianne G. Tossas)