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If birdwatching is your favorite hobby, the Caribbean’s geographical range houses a large variety of resident birds and welcomes the arrival of migratory birds. There are many national parks and sanctuaries and innumerable places for bird watchers in the Caribbean. It is one of the world’s most amazing regions, with exotic biodiversity and abundant bird species.
The region has so many bird sanctuaries where varied bird species flock together from different parts of the world at different times of the year. Some serve as natural habitats for these birds and keep them protected. For enthusiastic birdwatchers, we have compiled a list of the top bird sanctuaries in the Caribbean for bird watching. So, one can enjoy watching birds in the enlisted fascinating bird sanctuaries in the Caribbean.
1. Frigate Bird Colony, Barbuda
With an estimated population of 100,000 birds, Barbuda Frigate Bird Sanctuary is home to the largest Frigate bird colony. These magnificent birds migrate between the Caribbean and Galapagos islands during the varying mating seasons. The colony is located in the capital of Barbuda – Codrington – in the Codrington Lagoon, and can only be accessed by a short boat trip with a well informed tour guide.
You can watch dozens of rare birds from a boat tour, guided by a native Barbadian. The area also serves as a safe place for nesting pelicans, gulls, and terns. Locally called man-of-war thanks to its tendency to steal food from other species, the frigate bird is a fearless creature, so you can often approach it and observe from a short distance.
2. Rocklands Bird Sanctuary in Montego Bay, Jamaica
The family-owned Rocklands Bird Sanctuary in the hills of Montego Bay, Jamaica is a haven for thousands of native and migrant birds and a memorable way to spend a few hours. The sanctuary is a peaceful setting set within a garden paradise where visitors can feed a spectacular array of birds by hand. It is believed that there are over 200 species of birds in Jamaica, and many of them can be seen at the Rocklands Bird Feeding Sanctuary.
For most people, the highlight of a visit to Rocklands is the chance to hand feed hummingbirds from the patio. Several species of hummingbird (including the doctor bird, Jamaica’s national bird) are tame enough to fly down from the trees, perch on your finger, and drink nectar from a bird feeder.
Finches and quail will also come to eat millet seed from your hand. You can also take a tour around the grounds, where your knowledgeable guide, Fritz, will point out many species of bird and plant life.
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3. Bubali Bird Sanctuary, Aruba
The Bubali Bird Sanctuary, Aruba located within walking distance of the Palm Beach resorts, provides some unique bird watching opportunities. More than 80 species of migratory birds can be seen from the Bubali watch tower, which overlooks their resting and breeding grounds. Birdwatchers can get a bird’s-eye view from the observation tower. Migratory birds seeking lush vegetation to nest in an oasis at the Bubali Bird Sanctuary.
The nearby water treatment plant discharges into two linked man-made bird ponds. Herons, egrets, gulls, skimmers, coots, ducks, and other birds live in the sanctuary. Bring your camera because many of these birds will fly by the observation tower at random and put on a show. This is a great place to bring kids for a unique and possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be so close to the untamed.
4. Caroni Swamp Bird Sanctuary, Trinidad
The Caroni Swamp contains freshwater and saltwater marshes and is also known as a bird sanctuary. The central section of the acreage is designated as a wildlife sanctuary and is the home of one of Trinidad and Tobago’s national birds, the Scarlet Ibis. The Caroni Swamp is the major roosting place for the Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber) and is also the home of over 100 avian species.
Caroni Bird Sanctuary offers many of the same thrills of the Asa Wright Nature Centre without requiring the far pilgrimage to the island’s northern rainforest. But the real reason to visit Caroni is to observe the scarlet ibis, the national bird of Trinidad and Tobago, which resembles a brilliant blood orange flamingo. The best time to see the ibis is in the late afternoon; arrive a little early and you can enjoy a glass-bottom boat tour of the swampland while you’re waiting for the ibis to appear.
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Relax, enjoy the beauty of Jamaica with Kellina Powel one of our podcast episodes below and feel the Caribbean as you engage in your favorite bird watching activity.