Bird watching in Grand Bahama has taken flight after 30 birdwatchers from the US and The Bahamas recently found 178 bird species in two locations on the island. Erika Gates of the Garden of the Groves organized a Christmas Bird Count that took place from December 15-January 4. The Christmas Count was established 115 years ago globally and has been conducted in Grand Bahama for the past 15 years.

Its objective is to monitor the status and distribution of bird populations across the Western Hemisphere.  When results of the count are entered into the Audubon database officials can gain a clearer picture of how bird populations have changed over the years.  The information is also vital for conservation.  Gates said it took two days for the participants to tally the bird count in West End and Freeport.

“I am happy that this event is becoming an attraction for visitors from abroad. Grand Bahama Island is truly known as a birding destination. Our local birding group has helped to put the island on the map by submitting their observations throughout the year with the eBird database at Cornell University,” she said.

“Before a birder from abroad decides on a birding destination, he consults the sightings and birding sites on where Grand Bahama ranks high in number of bird species and easily accessible birding locations.”