CahowCam 1 egg has failed, giving much needed break to the parents.

Jeremy explains how the failure of the CahowCam 1 egg provides a much needed break for the parents that have raised a chick each of the past 5 years.

So far, the 2019 Cahow nesting season looks like it is a fairly successful one, with over 60 chicks now confirmed as having hatched, with the final number waiting for the current high winds and rain to abate so further nest checks can take place on the smaller nesting islets. 

On Nonsuch Island, it looks like a total of 12 chicks have now hatched, including the first 2 chicks ever at the new, 2nd translocation colony site. With the CahowCam nests, the recently installed "CahowCam 2" camera recorded the successful hatching of its chick on the night of 9th March. This chick seems to be getting regular feeding visits by the parent birds and is gaining weight steadily.

However, at the "CahowCam1" nest, as the hatching window passed it became clear that the egg had failed and was not going to hatch. This pair has been unusually successful, raising chicks for 5 consecutive years in a row, whereas Cahow pairs are usually only successful every other year or at best 2 years out of 3. Usually, when an egg fails, the parents will faithfully continue to try and incubate it for at least another 2 or 3 weeks, which has been the case with this pair. Typically, once a pair finally accepts that an egg will not hatch, they often will kick the egg out of the nest or, alternatively, will partly or completely bury it with nest material. This is what has happened last night (20/21 March), when the adult brought large amount of additional nest material in, ultimately completely burying the egg. This is the first time we have observed this on the CahowCam, due to the pair being successful every previous year since the camera was installed! This points to the value of these burrow cams, that even when failure inevitably occurs, that we can still gain previously unknown insights and observations that were not possible before. The adults may continue to visit the failed nest on & off until around the beginning of April, then will depart for their mid-Atlantic summer habitat, where they will feed, regain their strength, and prepare for the start of the next breeding season in November.

All the best, Jeremy


Jeremy Madeiros Senior Conservation Officer (Terrestrial) Dept. of Environment and Natural Resource

Hello World! 2019 CahowCam Chick hatches LIVE on Camera

At approximately 10:30pm on Saturday night, viewers from around the world watched as the Cahow egg in Burrow #832 began to hatch. Watch CahowCam LIVE Now

Nonsuch Expeditions Team Leader and CahowCam developer Jean-Pierre Rouja."The first hint that something was going on was a broken egg shell. Then, around 11:30pm, the chick’s head first appeared from under its parent. Progressively, throughout the night, more and more of it was revealed." 

Senior Terrestrial Conservation Officer Jeremy Madeiros“We were very happy to see the chick hatching in the 2ndCahowCam nest, and a bit surprised as I was not really expecting hatching to occur for several days yet. When I returned to my records, I could see the adult had returned during a stormy period in January when I had not been able to visit Nonsuch, so the egg was laid at the beginning of this period, not the end as thought. This brings the number of Cahow chicks so far confirmed as hatching on Nonsuch to 9, with adults in 4 nests still incubating eggs. The total number of chicks confirmed on all nesting islands now is over 45, with more nest checks scheduled over the next week, weather permitting.”

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The CahowCam Project is now in its seventh season broadcasting LIVE from Nonsuch Island, and the third season in collaboration with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (with whom over 15 million minutes of CahowCam video were watched over the past two years). 

The new CahowCam 2 had just been installed in Burrow #832 only a few days prior to the hatching. It's one of several that the team is installing this season to give researchers, students, and viewers around the world fascinating insights into the nesting activities of the second rarest seabird on the planet. It is located alongside burrow #831 from which the current CahowCam continues to stream as it has for the past five years. Historically, Burrow #832 hosted the Camera for the first two CahowCam seasons (2013-2014) during which the same pair successfully reared chicks named “Backson” and “Lightning”. 

The Minister of Home Affairs the Hon. Walter Roban: "I am so pleased to hear of another successful hatching at Nonsuch Island. I want to give a huge congratulations to the staff of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources who work tirelessly - sacrificing their weekends and evenings - to help bring our national bird back from the brink of extinction. Thank you also to Nonsuch Expeditions for enabling these incredible moments to be captured on camera and shared with a worldwide audience."

"Going forward we plan to be LIVE streaming both cameras in parallel to allow researchers and our followers to observe the similarities and differences in behaviors between the two pairs' nesting seasons," said J-P Rouja. “As we were going LIVE with this new camera during the most sensitive part of the nesting season (egg incubation), it was important to install the camera in the least disruptive way possible. Accordingly, we have custom-built new infrared lights to work with our new HD camera to fit in the pre-existing four-inch PVC pipe that remained in place from the original CahowCam setup in this same nest in 2013/14. This also brings us back to the traditional Top Down view that we used for first few CahowCam seasons, giving us an alternate wider view of the entire nest chamber from above. “

Jeremy Madeiros: “This Season we are working with international researchers to track the Cahow’s foraging expeditions using new nano-gps tags to shed light on where they are finding their food in the Sargasso Sea and beyond. In addition, there is concern that new proposals to carry out oil and gas exploration on the Continental Shelves may present a potential threat to the Cahow and many other seabirds, as previous geolocator tagging indicated that Cahows visit these areas regularly for foraging.… In parallel we are doing blood work to identify contaminants that may be exposed to through their food, all of which will assist with the ongoing management of the species.”

JP Rouja: “We archive each season in HD in its entirety, recording 24/7 for 7  months  which we will combine with the maps generated by the Geo tags and the LIVE footage for the STEAM curriculum that we are developing with Cornell. This will be used Internationally in K-12 through University, and adapted locally for public and private schools where it is perfect for localizing and creating cross-curricular lessons that will better engage our students.”

Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Cams Project Leader Charles Eldermire: "I continue to be amazed at how close these rare petrels are to the technology and infrastructure that enables us to share their lives with the world. It's really a testimony to both the ongoing efforts of Jeremy and the Bermuda Government as well as the investment from Nonsuch Expeditions that our far-flung audience can now observe two sets of petrels."

David Freestone, Executive Secretary, Sargasso Sea Commission:“The Sargasso Sea Commission is convening a workshop this week in Bermuda and one of the issues being looked at is the connectivity between the Sargasso Sea, Bermuda and the wider Atlantic ocean system. The cahow, is an iconic creature that symbolizes the connectivity between Bermuda and the open ocean - particularly the Sargasso Sea and now this research will provide data to back this up. Its recovery is a great tribute to the dedicated conservation work of Bermudians which is being showcased to the world…”

 John W. Fitzpatrick, Director, Cornell Lab of Ornithology: “The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is thrilled to partner with Nonsuch Expeditions in helping share with the world the intimate biology of these extraordinarily rare petrels, and the conservation success story they represent. We join hundreds of thousands of viewers in hoping that this new chick survives to fledging, and eventually returns to breed on Nonsuch Island.”