Good News for the Endemic Montserrat Oriole

Male Oriole (DOEnvironment Photo)
Male Oriole (DOEnvironment Photo)

The Department of Environment (DOE) is pleased with the preliminary results of the 2016 annual bird survey. Data collected shows a favourable increase in the species from 2011 with impressive numbers recorded in the 2015 and the recently concluded 2016 forest bird survey.

The habitat of the Montserrat Oriole has been severely impacted by natural disasters. The devastating Hurricane Hugo, of 1989 and the Soufriérè Hills Volcanic eruption that deposited ash from 1995 to 2010. It has been estimated that this eruption destroyed 60 percent of the island’s forest cover.

However, the DOE is amazed at the speed at which the forest has rebounded in such a short space of time, despite the fact that the island was faced with two particularly long dry spells in the past 5 years, the last one being in 2015.

The Department of Environment remains committed to undertaking the annual bird survey especially now that other factors such as the impact of climate change could influence bird behaviour and health. With appropriate funding, the DOE will maintain monitoring and control of invasive species which also influences the state of bird populations on island.

Annual bird surveys are conducted by the Department of Environment. The data is then sent for analysis to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). A full report will be available in a few months time.