Kiskadee

In case you were wondering what a Kiskadee is…
in Bermuda, at least, they have the name of the three-syllable call they make (“kis-ka-dee”).

IMG_1264 2

Kiskadees were brought to Bermuda from Trinidad in 1959 to help control the Anolis lizard population,  a species that had been purposefully introduced in 1905 to control fruit flies that were damaging local crops. As Kiskadees were known to eat lizards in their local range, it was thought that the 200 birds brought to Bermuda would solve the island’s biological imbalance.

IMG_1312 (5)Taking this photo of an Anolis lizard was a treat–it was very aware of my presence.

Unfortunately, this biological control failed because, once in Bermuda, the Kiskadees ate few lizards, preferring the eggs and chicks of smaller birds, such as the islands’ native Bluebird and endemic White-eyed vireo. They also spread the seeds of invasive plant species. Kiskadees eat small fish and can be seen close to the shoreline fishing for ‘fry’ (recently hatched fish) or in ponds eating fish placed there to control mosquitoes. Kiskadees compete with native and endemic birds and other species for food and are often aggressive towards other birds.

IMG_1307 (2) small
A very fat kiskadee in an old cedar tree about 25 metres from the Atlantic Ocean.

The introduction of this bird is thought to be responsible for the (probable) extinction of the Bermuda cicada, although the latter is also linked to the near extinction of Bermuda’s native Cedar trees. The last cicada was heard buzzing in the early 1990s on ‘Nonsuch Island‘, a special island which is a conservation experiment aimed at fostering and maintaining healthy populations of only Bermuda’s endemic and native species, including bringing back from near-extinction the Cahow, an endemic nocturnal petrel (seabird), once incredibly numerous by accounts of early European settlers.

* * *

I may have brushed over many details, but this story about species has been with me since primary school and summer camps in Bermuda (hurrah for environmental education, learning to name species of flora and fauna)!

It is cold and snowy in Canada and I miss the breathtaking flora and fauna of my little island paradise. There is certainly something unique about “my Island in the sun”! You may have heard about the 2017 America’s Cup (sailing) extravaganza in Bermuda–I hear from friends that it went very well and I am glad that Bermuda was able to host people throughout its stunning archipelago, though I do wonder about damage done to ocean life and ecosystems.

While I have no travel plans to visit family and friends in Bermuda, I continually look forward to heading back to visit “de rock”, to (essentially) blend in as a local, spend peaceful time on quiet beaches and amid blossoming flowers hiding among crumbling limestone walls separating gardens and colouful cottages.

IMG_1303 (2) (small)

IMG_1304 2Above, an old house I used to live in; my parents rented about half of it out from a local family. Do you know what this tree or fruit is called?

The best part of living in that old house for about three years, at least for the elementary-aged me, was the huge yard, trees for tree forts and view of the Atlantic ocean on the other side of the house, plus the two adorable dogs (Tyler and Emma) of the family that owned the house. I think Tyler and Emma had been adopted from the SPCA; they were very cuddly and loved to play fetch, and their owners let me play with them every day 🙂

Thanks, as always, for following! ❤

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s