Bermuda‘s new National Park extends IBA protection
The entire world population of Endangered Bermuda Petrel or Cahow Pterodroma cahow nests within 1 km of Cooper’s Island, and the southern promontory of the island is the only area from which the Cahow can be easily observed from land. Cooper’s Island is close to the Nonsuch Island Nature Reserve, site of a five-year translocation project to re-establish a breeding population of Cahows beyond the reach of hurricane damage.
The 77 acre (32.2 hectare) Cooper’s Island is also home to a large number of nesting White-tailed Tropicbirds Phaethon lepturus, and with the other Castle Harbour islands plays host to the largest colonies of this species on Bermuda, at over 600 nesting pairs.
“Almost all of the area designated as an IBA is now protected to some extent,” said Jeremy Madeiros of Bermuda’s Department of Conservation Services.
Parts of the island are still used for purposes not strictly compatible with a Nature Reserve, including a radar tower, marine communications antenna and police firing range, but the Department of Conservation is talking to all parties to minimise light levels, guy wires and similar threats to Cahows and other night-flying birds. …
Cooper’s Island is one of the most important sites on Bermuda for neotropical migrants, both passage migrants and overwintering birds. “It is especially important for shorebirds, including the listed Piping Plover Charadrius melodus, Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola and Killdeer Charadrius vociferus, which use the large beach areas, and raptors, especially Osprey Pandion haliaetus and Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus,” said Madeiros. …
The Critically Endangered Bermuda Skink Eumeces longirostris, a ground lizard which lives in Cahow nest burrows, eating insects and parasites and helping to keep the burrows clean, will be re-introduced to Cooper’s Island.
The [Cooper’s] island has been used by many United States Government agencies, having been the property of the US Army, US Air Force and US Navy (which relinquished the island in 1995), as well as previously being occupied by a NASA space tracking station.
Neotropical migratory bird grants link sites and people along the Americas flyway: here.