Perhaps you have noticed some birds with long beaks in the Bahamas recently. Perhaps you have asked me why they are invading and who brought them in to the Bahamas. the short answer “They are Glossy and White Ibises and they are not invasive species.”
The long answer. Ibises are found throughout the islands of the Bahamas I have seen them since about 2001 in Andros, but I only noticed because I was doing bird research I imagine. In New Providence, I hardly would see them before except on golf courses. Now they seem to be everywhere there is a grassy field.
Why are we noticing them now?
Well, there can be several reasons. The first, is a change in your perspective you are now an adult and your work takes you to a different area or you are more cognizant of your surroundings, or you now pay attention to http://www.Facebook.com/ScienceAndPerspective so birds are on your radar.
The second is a change in the environment. A few years ago, we had a distemper epidemic in the Bahamas that killed lots of stray dogs and cats. Ibis are slow moving awkward flyers that feed with their heads down in the grass. easy pickings for a hungry predator. Over time, this would have suppressed their population and made them generally more wary of being out in the open. which leads to the final possibility.
The birds are behaving differently.
“Hey! those creatures with the big teeth aren’t around anymore. I think that grassy patch looks like it is filled with juicy goodness! So what if humans can see us? They don’t do anything to us.” So the birds are more out in the open, there may be more of them due to lower depredation and you are noticing.
Awesome! now, do me a favor. Sign up for eBird and download the ebird app to your cell phone. Join me and the BirdCLub of New Providence at the Bahamas National Trust Retreat Gardens on Village Road this Saturday September 21st from 8 AM. Hopefully we will show you some more cool birds. I will be there with extra binoculars.