Cahows break record with 134 breeding pairs

  • National treasure: Jeremy Madeiros handles a cahow chick on Nonsuch Island (Photograph supplied by Nonsuch Expeditions)

    National treasure: Jeremy Madeiros handles a cahow chick on Nonsuch Island (Photograph supplied by Nonsuch Expeditions)

  • Jeremy Madeiros, conservation officer, handles a cahow chick on Nonsuch Island (Photograph supplied by Nonsuch Expeditions)

    Jeremy Madeiros, conservation officer, handles a cahow chick on Nonsuch Island (Photograph supplied by Nonsuch Expeditions)

  • The cahow or Bermuda Petrel (Pterodroma cahow)

    The cahow or Bermuda Petrel (Pterodroma cahow)


Bermuda’s cahows notched up a record 134 breeding pairs this year — and the chicks were at healthier weights than 2019.

Jeremy Madeiros, the Government’s principal conservation officer, said that 68 of the endangered birds hatched in 2020.

The number of breeding pairs topped last year’s figure of 131, although that season resulted in 73 fledged chicks.

Mr Madeiros said: “All the chicks this year are at very good or above-average weights, with the exception of possibly two, which may need to be taken into care.”

All chicks last year were of below-average weights and at least 12 needed to be taken into care or given supplemental feeding to help them thrive.

Jean-Pierre Rouja, the Nonsuch Expeditions team leader, said evidence suggested the birds found food closer to the island this year.

Mr Rouja said: “Their foraging flights are shorter and more frequent, resulting in chicks throughout the colony growing faster than usual.

“This has led to some interesting interactions when the parents feeding visits overlap.”

He added that, for the second year, a petrel nicknamed Stormy had attempted to move into one of two “CahowCam” nests, where hidden cameras allows researchers and the public to watch the cahows live on an internet feed.

Mr Rouja said Stormy — which he said was the world’s loneliest and most annoying petrel — had attempted to “cohabitate” with cahows in CahowCam2.

He said: “He has been serenading their chick on a nightly basis.

“This year the chick does not seem to be as patient as the one from last season and has already evicted Stormy a few times.

“Tune in nightly to watch as the saga unfolds.”

Mr Rouja added that the process of monitoring the cahows had been complicated by social-distancing policies, as Mr Madeiros had to go to Nonsuch Island alone.

Mr Rouja has filmed the work remotely to produce video updates and photographs.

The cahow was believed to have been wiped out after British settlement in the 1600s.

However, the species was rediscovered in 1951 in nests on rocky islets in Castle Harbour, which sparked a major conservation effort.

Two colonies were established on Nonsuch Island through a relocation effort and the species colonised Southampton Island on their own in 2013.

The population has risen from just 17 or 18 nesting pairs in 1951.

Nonsuch Expeditions, in partnership with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Department of the Environment and Natural resources, will be offering livestream sessions to teachers and students in Bermuda and overseas over the next few weeks.

Parents, teachers and students can sign up for notifications through the newsletter form on nonsuchisland.com.

You must be registered or signed-in to post comment or to vote.

Published May 12, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated May 12, 2020 at 7:40 am)

Cahows break record with 134 breeding pairs

What you
Need to
Know
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon

  • Take Our Poll

    • "Where is institutional racism in Bermuda most prevalent?"
    • Criminal justice system
    • 16%
    • Education
    • 23%
    • Employment opportunities
    • 39%
    • Healthcare
    • 3%
    • Housing
    • 5%
    • Income
    • 14%
    • Total Votes: 4776
    • Poll Archive

    Today's Obituaries

    eMoo Posts