International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) is a celebration of the truly amazing long journeys that migratory birds take each year. More than 120 species migrate from their breeding grounds in North America to winter in the Caribbean.
These birds, like the endemics and residents, are part of the Caribbean’s natural heritage. In fact, the over-wintering migrants, such as the Bicknell’s Thrush or the Kirtland’s Warbler, spend most of their year in the Caribbean, nine months as compared to the three months spent breeding in North America.
Each year, the regional non-profit, the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds assists partners throughout the region in throwing celebrations in honor of these masters of flight.
The “official” date for IMBD in the Caribbean is the second Saturday of October. Islands celebrate the festival at any time in the Fall that is convenient, however, it is encouraged in October because this is peak migration period. The activity or activities can be very simple, for example, organizing a birding walk or a presentation on migratory birds. Alternatively, activities can be more involved like organizing displays, art competitions, etc.
In Saint Martin, the celebration begins September 29 at 8 am with a day full of enjoying and learning about the island’s birds at one of St Martin’s premier birdwatching sites, Etang de la Barriere.
The event is being done in partnership with the Reserve Naturelle and Les Fruits de Mer. At the event, visitors will learn about the relationship between migratory birds and the mangroves, beaches and mudlfats that support them during this critical part of their annual life cycle. There will be guides leading tours in French, English and Dutch, as well as wildlife photographers who will give tips on capturing the perfect picture of these amazing birds.
The event is free to the public. More can be read about the event by clicking here. You can also learn about these events going on around the Caribbean by visiting the Facebook page for these festivals administered by the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds. Please contact us if you are interested in throwing your own celebration in the Caribbean.