The recent hurricanes that blasted through the Caribbean have done untold damage to people and wildlife.

Reviewing Irma’s carnage is painful. Video from Cuba’s northern Cays shows flamingos killed outright or slowing dying from the impacts of this intense storm. In Barbuda, almost every building was left uninhabitable, and the vegetation seems to be virtually scrubbed out of existence. Efforts to assess the damage to birdlife in Barbuda have been mixed, but fortunately at least eight endemic Barbuda Warblers were finally found after Irma. See details here:

Other reports, from St. Martin, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, are equally unsettling. On the islands that took the brunt of the two hurricanes the damage is mind-boggling. The humanitarian crisis is sweeping, with losses of food, shelter, power, and medical care.

Trees were uprooted or left denuded of all fruit and leaves. On some islands, local Bananaquits and hummingbirds have been reported starving because flowers and leaves have been stripped from plants, and many flowering plants have been killed. Riverbanks were scoured, and fields were flooded with salt-water. At some inland locations, there are threats of landslides. The damage to mangroves, reefs, seagrass beds, and beaches mean that birds will have to deal with the serious loss of nesting habitat, shelter, and food.

Most of the devoted bird-educators, bird conservationists, and bird researchers who live and labor on these islands work or volunteer with non-profit organizations, or small government departments. Their resources are limited. All are extremely dedicated to their work and all are taking time to help birds, even as they themselves may have lost their homes or offices. They need help to get back on their feet in order to begin vital restoration efforts for the birds and habitats that suffered the fury of Irma and Maria.

If you wish to help the birds, habitats, and island communities in the region, BirdsCaribbean is supporting a Caribbean-wide network of partner organizations to help stabilize operations so that people can return to critical post-hurricane bird-conservation work. You can find more details, make a contribution, and/or leave comments here:

….From The Birding Community E-Bulletin.

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