Steve Howard is in the Northern Mariana Islands, working with Pacific Bird Conservation to protect birds and blogging about his experience.
This post was written by Steve Howard
Today we’ll be setting up the bird room. The hotel has given us a large room to keep the birds in after they are caught. And what is behind all this work? The Brown Tree Snake. The snakes reached Guam sometime in the 1950s, probably on a cargo ship. They are very curious animals and will climb into containers to investigate, and wind up traveling with the cargo. They eat birds and chicks from the nests, and the birds here have no defense. The birds on Guam were all but wiped out. The fear now is that the snakes will find their way to the other islands. The birds on the smaller islands are also vulnerable to loss from severe storms.
So birds are caught, put into small cages temporarily and carefully monitored, banded, and then released on other islands to start new populations. These form a sort of safety net against loss of birds in the original habitat.
So, today I learned how to put the cages together, and then we assembled ninety of them.
Once the bird room is ready, we start catching birds!