Thursday, May 29, 2014 7:00 AM
Fifty new homes are ready and waiting for our endangered national bird, the cahow. The artificial nest boxes were donated to the cahow recovery programme by the Bermuda Audubon Society.
The nest boxes were designed by former conservation officer Dr. David Wingate, who worked with cahows for 50 years. “Cahows are soil-burrowing birds and in pre-colonial times they would have dug their own burrows, but for hundreds of years they had to survive on rocky little islands where that was impossible,” he explained. “As the numbers increased under the restoration programme, we started building artificial burrows out of cement, which was labourious, back-breaking work. I saw the need for a mass-produceable surrogate which was durable, light and compact enough to transport to remote locations.” Conservation Officer Jeremy Madeiros tried some artificial burrows from Australia, but they were designed for a smaller petrel and were not ideal for the cahow, so Dr. Wingate decided to design his own. “These meet all the requirements of our picky national bird – a long, curved tunnel and a nest chamber that is in total darkness.”