As the Caribbean continue to repair the world around them after Hurricane Maria, communities are banding together to care for the winged wildlife as well.
The tropical region is home to 500 species of birds, 100 of which are specific to one island, however, September's storms tore apart the natural environment, leaving not only the residents but also the birds without a home.
Robbed of special equipment, usual rescue procedures were abandoned by regional organizations looking abroad and left it to citizens to address the issue. Birds Caribbean, a nonprofit conservation group, took action, raising funds and shipping out “bird aid” almost immediately after the storm passed.
A call to action to feed the birds and bats with fruits and seeds was published while in other parts of the Caribbean, free hummingbird feeders were distributed outside local restaurants.
“The story behind the seeds and feeders: our native wildlife across the Caribbean took a severe blow from the storms. Like us, the birds and bats can’t go to the next island to get food and shelter, because those places were devastated too,” Birds Caribbean said from their Facebook account.
“The bats at the Barren Spot Bat Tower at the Bat Conservation Site and throughout the territory are struggling from lack of food. Hurricanes Irma and Maria wiped out most of the fruit growing on our plants and trees! You can help these fruit-eating bats by hanging fruits like bananas, papayas, mangoes or whatever you can find,” the St Croix Environmental Association in the US Virgin Islands said.
Some of the other items of bird relief shared throughout the islands were thousands of pounds of seeds, binoculars, cameras and forestry tools.
“As nature takes her path to recovery, we have an opportunity to influence the future. We can plant native trees and protect natural spaces or we could destroy them. How we participate in the process is up to us,” Tom White, a biologist and personal blogger, wrote from St. Martin.
Despite their efforts, several species of endangered birds continue to struggle. However, with the continued efforts of the community, Caribbean bird lovers are hopeful that their feathered friends will return home again.