Travel News

Peer to Pier: Ecotourism & Birding in Tobago

Meg: Can you tell me about the bird observatory?

Ean: I’ve always liked birds from a young person. When I realized that people who went to the rain forest would not get the opportunity to photograph the birds, I decided to create the opportunity. So now even if it’s raining you can sit down and watch birds in a covered environment.  A few years ago when we had a hurricane, a category 3 hurricane, these feeders were at a hell of an angle but the hummingbirds were still feeding because they have to feed constantly.

Meg: Off the top of your head, how many bird feeders do you have here?

Ean:  About 12 to 14. We make a syrup for the feeders, which is as close to natural nectar as possible.  At this time of year we would fill it up once a day but when the Ruby-Topaz Hummingbirds come, which are considered one of the most majestic hummingbirds in the world, then we would fill up the feeders twice a day. They are the fastest and they’re really the most acrobatic hummingbirds. We have hummingbirds here all year round, but the Ruby Topaz comes from December to August.

Meg: And how many species do you have here typically?

Ean: We did a recording last year by two independent birders and they recorded 58 birds in a 24-hour period. We had Chachalacas, Frigate birds, Herons, Hawks, Falcons and Caracaras, Pigeons and Doves, Parrots, Barn Owls, Potoos, Nightjars, Hummingbirds, Motmots, Jacamars, Woodpeckers, Ovenbirds,Woodcreepers, Antbirds, Flycatchers, Wrens, Thrushes, Mockingbirds, Bananaquits,Tanagers, Grassquits Seedeaters, and Finc hes, Woodwarblers, Newworld black birds. Some of them are not easily seen. You won’t see all in the bird observatory because some of them are insect eaters and you see them down on the nature reserve and farm.

We have so many different types of fruit trees and other types of trees they come here to breed and they have a natural habitat here. We are a 100 percent organic so it’s the ideal environment for them.

As you can see, the hummingbirds have just started to stop feeding and the bats have come out. We have four different types of bats here. We encourage the bats here because they help propagate a particular seed and they take it to a different part of the rain forest; they continuously rejuvenate Tobago rainforest, which is the oldest protected rain forest in the western hemisphere. Plus, each bat eats about 600 mosquitoes a night so they are a form of insect control; we have significantly less mosquitoes here than other areas in Tobago.