Species of tropical birds native to the Bahamas are becoming extinct due to climate change

Quick Notes

  • Hurricane Dorian was the second most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever recorded

  • It had wind speeds of two hundred miles per hour and hit the Bahamas for a total of fifty hours

  • It is worrying that local exotic birds, such as the Bahama Nuthatch, have been rendered extinct overnight

Turbulent weather is one of the most significant indicators of the changes the Earth’s climate is going through, and recent hurricanes haven’t done anything to soothe the concerns of climate activists. One of the most recent hurricanes, Hurricane Dorian, was the most intense tropical cyclone to have ever hit the Bahamas, and it left its mark.

It was the second most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, and the fifth hurricane in the past four years to reach the highest category warning possible (category five). It struck the Bahamas for a total of fifty hours, and the damage has been catastrophic, with the storm reaching gale-force wind speeds of 200 miles per hour (320 kilometers per hour).

The human tragedy accounts for forty-three confirmed deaths, but the number is feared as being as high as three thousand. With this in mind, it may seem uncomfortable to worry for the birds of the Bahamas, but it is worried that certain species of these exotic birds may have been made extinct overnight.

Recently rediscovered species may have gone extinct due to Dorian’s hit

One such species of tropical birds, known as the Bahama Nuthatch, had been rediscovered by the University of East Anglia Master’s students Matthew Gardner and David Pereira after their disappearance following Hurricane Matthew in 2016. It is now feared that Hurricane Dorian may have completed what Hurricane Matthew started.

Other exotic birds may have fallen to the same fate following the catastrophic hurricane. The Bahama Warbler and the Abaco Parrot are also both feared to have been made extinct due to the severe flooding of their natural habitats. In addition to these, the wellbeing of the Bahama Yellow Throat, Olive-capped Warbler, the Bahama Woodstar Hummingbird and the Bahama Swallow is under question.

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It may seem obvious that during a natural disaster, an airborne creature such as these tropical birds would fly away to safety, but this is not always the case. While certain species of tropical birds have been found in places such as Florida or even far-flung Pennsylvania, many seek shelter in their natural habitats.

This is problematic during a hurricane, as many of the hiding places of these exotic birds are within trees or cliffsides that suffer from extreme flooding, often drowning the birds seeking shelter. It isn’t known why birds respond to natural disasters the way that they do, and it isn’t an easy field of study to research.

Once again, human beings are partly to blame for the fate of these exotic birds

Unfortunately, as with many of the most negative effects befalling our climate, human beings have a lot to answer for when it comes to the extinction of these tropical birds. Due to the prevalence of hurricanes in the area, the ecosystem of the Bahamas has adjusted to accommodate its local wildlife with thick vegetation.

Unfortunately, deforestation and the dramatic increase of logging practices throughout the twentieth century have thinned out the once heavily dense formation of trees, meaning animals have far fewer places to hide from the unrelenting storm. The weakened tree barrier has meant that seawater floods far further into the forest than it was previously able to, resulting in even further damage.

It is estimated as many as one hundred and eighty two species of bird have gone extinct within the past five centuries, and extraordinarily an enormous 92% of those species have been island birds

This is all nightmarish news for the exotic birds that populate the area. In the past, they may have hidden in ground-habitats to shield themselves from the intense wind and rain, but that isn’t possible now due to the flooding of the forest floor.

It is estimated as many as one hundred and eighty-two species of bird have gone extinct within the past five centuries, and extraordinarily an enormous 92% of those species have been island birds. The lesson from all of this is two-fold: climate change is battering our tropical islands, and human expansion into natural habitats must cease before it is too late.

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