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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Birds, Birds, Beautiful Birds.

Article by
Jeannette Victor
Forestry Department

Isn’t it wonderful to awake to melodious bird song on a beautiful day? It makes our day brighter and worthwhile.  On a day to day basis we see many birds in many different areas and of different sizes and colors.  Some are seen in and around our homes, in our gardens and forested areas as well as by rivers and swamps.  Do we know why birds have such varied habitats?

Birds are usually identified by the habitat to which they have adapted giving them their unique and varied characteristics. Forest birds such as the St. Lucia Parrot and the St. Lucia Black Finch are found in our rainforest where they make themselves comfortable by creating their nests in tall trees and enjoying the tranquility of the forest.  They feed on fruits, seeds and nuts helping with the dispersing of seeds to create the rich forest diversity.

Though forest would seem the ideal place for birds not all birds are found there.  Birds are also found along roadsides and in and around our homes. Some of these include bananaquits, bullfinches and blackbirds.  Those birds form their nests by using dry twigs and leaves and are often found in trees.  Their diet includes nectar, seeds and small insects.

Brown booby and laughing gull are two examples of seashore birds.  They survive on small fish from below the sea surface or along the sea’s shore.  Seashore birds nests on the ground in shallow depressions, on cliff ledges and on flat ground with little vegetations.  They could be seen on the offshore islands like Praslin Island and Maria Island. Many of these are migratory and seasonal.
Some birds are also able to inhabit swamp and marshy areas like the cattle egret and the little blue heron.  Small fish, crustaceans, frogs and insects all form part of their diet.  Their eggs are laid in a tree or shrub among swamp vegetation or mangroves.
Although birds may seem abundant, destruction of their varied habitats make them vulnerable and many have become endangered and even extinct.  We need to cherish our birds and the environment because a walk through the forest without hearing the sweet-songs of birds is like a forest with no life.