"Birds of the Transboundary Grenadines"
A Collection of Scientific, Local Ecological Knowledge and Folklore
The ‘Birds of the Transboundary Grenadines’ project was initiated in 2012, as a collaborative volunteer-driven effort, to ultimately create an avian field guide representative of the ecological and cultural dimensions of avian resources within the Grenadine archipelago. The goal was to collect and synthesise scientific, LEK and local lore to create a single document with the potential to train local bird monitors, educate the general public, promote sustainable tourism initiatives, and enhance the overall integrity of Grenadines’ resources. Through incorporating several types of knowledge, the guide is intended to appeal to a wide audience, and will be useful to both locals and foreigners with an interest in natural resources.
The transboundary Grenadine Islands consist of over fifty volcanic origin islands (nine inhabited) shared between the small island developing states (SIDS) of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada. Although divided amongst two nations, the islands throughout the archipelago, share more ecological and socioeconomic commonalities with each other than they do with their respective mainlands.
Despite their small sizes, the terrestrial, coastal, and marine ecosystems of the Grenadine Islands provide important habitat for more than one hundred species of resident and migratory birds. The importance of the Grenadines for avifauna has been highlighted by several prominent designations. There are five Birdlife International important bird areas (IBAs), the global authority for avian conservation. There are also nine restricted range birds that can only be found in a total historical breeding range of less than 50,000 square kilometres. In a recent report, St. Vincent and the Grenadines was highlighted as the most important country in the Lesser Antilles for seabirds, specifically for the colonies scattered throughout the Grenadines. It was also identified as the most vulnerable, primarily due to harvesting activities. Grenada also has many colonies and hosts a plethora of nesting seabirds and similar environmental concerns.
In 2012-2013, the project coordinators compiled a preliminary draft field guide, inclusive of a list of birds recorded in the Grenadines, a complete set of high-quality photographs taken in the region, and previously published information on their life histories. Between June 2014-May 2015, LEK interviews, an online questionnaire, and several reconnaissance field surveys were conducted with over 100 stakeholders, on all of the inhabited, and some of the uninhabited, islands. LEK surveys collected local lore, names, behaviour, ecology, threats, and conservation barriers, as well as the anthropogenic uses and values of birds by both residents of, and regular visitors to, the Grenadines.