ORANJESTAD — The St. Eustatius National Parks organisation (STENAPA) is hard at work in its commitment to monitor the status of its birds, with a particular focus on Red-billed Tropicbirds (Phaethon aethereus), an important and threatened seabird.
This month marks the start of the seabird monitoring season on St. Eustatius. Field teams are visiting established tropicbird colonies where monitoring focuses on the abundance and breeding success.
The tropicbirds are observed from a fixed point to determine the diurnal behaviour during the nesting/breeding season. Nesting pairs are identified and active nests are marked. Nests and eggs are counted. The field team keep watch on the confirmed nests from incubation to the hatching period. The number and percentage of hatched eggs are important to document as this gives insight on survival rate, breeding and hatching success of the species.
To guarantee the longterm survival of these important bird species it is essential to determine what factors are affecting the population. In turn this will help inform effective conservation action preventing the decline of the species.