Cahow Nesting Season Off To An Early Start

October 30, 2018

The upcoming 2019 cahow nesting season is off to an early start with breeding pairs returning to their underground burrows on the Nonsuch Island Nature Reserve and its surrounding islets earlier than expected.

Principal Terrestrial Conservation Officer at the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources [DENR] Jeremy Madeiros said, “Many of the birds are returning a week ahead of normal, possibly due to favorable weather and good amounts of food in their traditional feeding grounds in the cold waters north of the Gulf Stream.

“The remaining breeding pairs should be returning by the first week in November and all the birds examined thus far are in good condition which bodes well for a promising breeding season.

“Conditions this year seem similar to last year when the closer proximity of food led to more frequent feeding visits which contributed to the record number of chicks [71] fledging, breaking the old record by 10.

“We are looking forward to see how many new pairs lay an egg for the first time this season as we had record numbers of new prospecting pairs last season.

Cahow Bermuda October 2018

“Last year’s record number of 124 breeding pairs will hopefully also increase due to the number of new pairs coming on-line, and may approach 130 pairs; this represents a significant recovery, thanks to an intensive management program, from the original number of just 17 to 18 pairs in the 1960s.”

Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Cams Project Leader Charles Eldermire said, “Viewers have been asking when the CahowCam would return, and we’re excited to share these intimate views of the Cahow pair during their November courtship.

“The new camera will allow us to see their breeding season progress in exquisite detail, capturing the complexity of the cahows’ lives at a new scale. These recordings are hopefully the first of many, chronicling the continued recovery of these petrels thanks to the efforts of everyone involved in their conservation.”

Nonsuch Expeditions Team Leader and CahowCam developer Jean-Pierre Rouja said, “Our star CahowCam pair were amongst the first to return with the female arriving on the night of October 25th and her mate on the 26th.

“The recently upgraded HD camera system was already streaming live which allowed our followers from around the world to get a preview of the reunited pairs’ courtship activities, after having spending several months apart. They spent the weekend courting, preening, nest building and resting which will continue on and off for the next few weeks all of which can be viewed live via

“If all goes well they will then spend December out at sea feeding and re-energizing before the female returns in early January to lay her single egg.”

“With the support of the DENR, this will be the seventh Season that the Nonsuch Expeditions CahowCam live-streams to the world. Over the past two seasons, through our new collaboration with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, hundreds of thousands of viewers, including students from around the world, watched over 15 million minutes of CahowCam video which we will expand upon this year!

“As part of our ongoing efforts to leverage technology to assist with Conservation efforts we will be bringing several new features online this upcoming season which should extend our reach and increase public engagement even further.

“In parallel, we continue to develop our K-12 STEAM curriculum with Cornell which is also being pegged to the Cambridge system for Bermuda and International use. Educators should contact us via the website for more details.”

“To learn more about the cahow and watch highlights from past seasons or to sign up for our newsletter, please visit”

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