As a Nonsuch Christmas present, Backson the Star Cahow chick from the first CahowCam season has returned to Nonsuch Island after 4 years at sea.
Jeremy Madeiros: “Backson” is back!
"It is always an exciting and satisfying feeling when something that was started years ago finally comes to fruition. I had that feeling on December 5th, when I was on Nonsuch Island making a check of Cahow nest burrows. Taking advantage of a break in the windy weather, I first checked the original “A” colony site, where Cahows moved here as chicks between 2004 – 2008 have returned, chosen nest burrows, and attracted mates, establishing a new nesting colony which is now up to 16 breeding pairs. I then moved on to the 2nd, “B” colony site, where I have been moving chicks since 2013, and where the birds first began to return earlier this year. In one of the nest burrows, I had already recorded a returning male bird on November 12, 2017, that had been translocated to a nearby nest at this site in 2013. Upon opening the nest lid, which enables me to check inside the nest without unduly disturbing the birds, I saw an adult Cahow sitting quietly on a partially completed nest. At first, I thought it was the male bird, but upon turning the bird over to read the number of the band fitted to the left leg, I saw an unfamiliar number, E0500, which raised alarm bells as being significant in some way.
Upon returning to the mainland, I checked my computer’s banding files, and confirmed that the bird in question was in fact our first CahowCam, video star Cahow chick, which hatched on and fledged to sea from Nonsuch Island back in 2013. This chick was named “Backson”, and was born to two parents who were both translocated as chicks to Nonsuch Island in 2005, one from the Horn Rock C22 nest, the other from Inner Pear Rock D4 nest. These birds started to nest back on Nonsuch at the “A” colony site in 2010, and Backson was their third chick. Backson hatched on the 13th March, 2013, and fledged out to sea on the 15th June of that year. After spending the last four years maturing out on the open North Atlantic Ocean, backson has returned, turned out to be female, and has already chosen a mate over at the “B” colony site. We will be watching with interest over the rest of the nesting season as this new pair becomes established, and hopefully will produce their first egg in the next, 2018-2019 nesting season."
Jeremy Madeiros, Senior Terrestrial Conservation Officer, Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources
She was named by Junior Explorer Sophie Rouja based on a Winnie The Pooh story in which a note from Christopher Robin saying he would be "back soon" was misread as "Backson". This ultimately proved to be an appropriate name as Backson was indeed back soon.
Merry Christmas Everyone!