Fourth Live Cam Launched On Nonsuch Island

June 5, 2019

In celebration of World Environment Day, the Nonsuch Expeditions in partnership with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Dept. of the Environment and Natural Resources have officially launched their 4th Live Cam on Nonsuch Island.

This new camera is located in Nonsuch Island Translocation Colony A, and unlike the existing nest Cams, is above ground, giving a surface view of the Island and coastline during the day and an infrared view of the Colony at night.

This allows scientists, students and followers from around the world to observe the Cahow chicks as they explore, exercise and imprint on their surroundings in the few nights before they fledge out to sea.

Jeremy Madeiros, Principle Scientist – Terrestrial Conservation, Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources, said: “The new Nonsuch Expeditions Surface Cam is the latest tool in fulfilling one of the Cahow Recovery project’s primary objectives of ‘increasing public outreach and education’ about one of the most important symbols of Bermuda’s natural heritage, the endemic and critically endangered National bird of Bermuda, the Cahow or Bermuda petrel.

“Public interest about the Cahow has greatly increased in recent years in part due to LookBermuda’s Nonsuch Expeditions outreach efforts, leading to an increasingly unsustainable demand for tours to Nonsuch Island in the hopes of seeing Cahows during the breeding season.

“Due to the small size and extreme sensitivity of the endangered habitats and species on the island, and the increasing risk of introducing invasive species that could threaten the entire project, the number of tours cannot be increased beyond the present number, most of which are reserved for school and educational groups, that are accommodated every year.

Cahow Bermuda June 2019

“As a result, the partnership with Nonsuch Expeditions has also enabled us to use new technology to offer “virtual tours” of Nonsuch, showing the ongoing research and management work being carried out on the island on various species such as the Cahow, Tropicbird, Bermuda Land Snail and Bermuda Skink.

“In the same way, new techniques and technology have enabled the management team at the Dept. of Environment and natural Resources to increase the nesting population of the Cahow in the 2019 nesting season to a record high number of 131 breeding pairs [up from 17-18 pairs in the 1960s] and increased the number of successfully fledging chicks to a record high of 73 [up from 7-8 annually in the early 1960s].

“The new Surface Cam will not only enable us to follow the exercising of Cahow chicks just before they fledge, but will also allow us to view nesting Tropicbirds visiting their cliff nests on Nonsuch during the summer months. And I really look forward to watching the acrobatic courtship activities of the adult nesting Cahows when they return for the beginning of their next breeding season in late October and November.”

Charles Eldermire Bird Cams Project Leader, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, said: “Watching the Cahow nestling navigate the darkness and stretch its wings on the new cam shows a whole new side to Cedar, one that reinforces how close she is to heading out to sea! Plus, the daytime views of Nonsuch Island are spectacular and I can imagine lots of viewers tuning in just to bask in the beauty and to watch the longtails fly past on the wind.”

J-P Rouja, Nonsuch Expeditions Team Leader, said, “This new camera follows our original CahowCam that was first launched 8 years ago in Cahow burrow #831.

“Unfortunately, the egg in that nest failed this year, however this gave the parents a much needed break as they had raised a chick for the past 5 years, well above the average Cahow nesting success rate.

“Successfully producing a chick every year over multiple years can be a drain on their health as they need to commit 7 months to successfully fledge a chick, often flying 10’s of thousands of miles over the season to feed it.

“CahowCam 2 was launched this Spring in burrow #832, in which viewers have been following the Cahow chick, recently named “Cedar” and an increasingly persistent, annoying and never before documented Storm Petrel nest-mate.

“We have also recently launched a very popular “Longtail” TropicbirdCam in which the chick is doing very well.

“The live feeds and archival recordings from the Cams have resulted in over 20 million minutes of video being watched over the past 3 seasons which will only increase over the next few years with all of these new viewing options…

“The Cahows are nocturnal when approaching land and nesting, therefore the majority of activity occurs at night, usually starting around 1am, however viewers of the live video feeds can scroll back as far back as 12 hours in the timeline allowing them to observe all of the prior nights nocturnal activities when checking in the morning.

“We also have a number of Cornell volunteers and other followers across a multitude of timezones ensuring that the live feeds are always monitored in realtime and that post public updates to our Twitter feeds. The crowd sourcing of citizen scientists to monitor 24/7 live feeds is relatively new but much welcomed phenomenon.”

Jeremy Madeiros added, “I project that Cedar, based on her weight and wing length from her most recent health check will fledge out to sea somewhere between the 5th and 8th of June, so the launch of this new Cam allowing us to witness this process is quite timely.

“When watching at night you will see her exercising and flapping her wings, however there are no test flights, so the first time she actually flies she will head out to sea, not to return, if all goes well, for 3 to 5 years…”

Viewers can watch the Cams live using the links below, which also allows them to rewind the prior 12 hour loop, should they not be able to stay up all night. Watch live now: Live cahow cam here or here.

- Photo above courtesy of Nonsuch Expeditions

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