Over the past four Cahow nesting seasons, LookBermuda’s award-winning Nonsuch Expeditions CahowCam has grown from strength to strength, broadcasting from the underground nesting chambers of the second rarest seabird on the planet: the critically endangered, endemic, Bermuda Petrel or “Cahow”. Numerous "first time documented" events were filmed during this period including the hatching of a Cahow chick that was live streamed to the conservation team, bird watchers and classrooms around the world.
Nonsuch Expeditions leader and CahowCam designer J-P Rouja: "Whilst our worldwide audience has been growing organically from year to year, with several thousand viewers watching when the chick hatched this past spring and several hundred thousand minutes of video streamed throughout the season, we have been doing this completely on our own."
To take this to the next level we reached out to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Bird Cams project, an effort that has created an extensive network of live streaming cameras with an audience of millions of viewers and an emphasis on education and research. We're excited to announce that Nonsuch Expeditions will be partnering with the Cornell Lab for the 2017 CahowCam season, allowing us to bring a renewed focus on the Cahow conservation efforts in Bermuda while providing a more robust streaming experience and greater exposure to new audiences.
The Cornell Lab's Bird Cams project leader Charles Eldermire was very positive when we proposed the partnership, remarking that, "Given their precarious future and their out-of-sight lifestyle, the Cahows seemed like a perfect fit for the Bird Cams. The previous efforts and expertise of the Nonsuch Expeditions team made us even more confident about the opportunity that this partnership presented."
Eldermire visited Bermuda this past November to get a better idea of the scope of the Cahow conservation effort. During three days of meetings, checking nests, and troubleshooting technology, he met with important stakeholders and leaders for Cahow conservation and consulted with Department of Conservation Services biologists and Nonsuch Expeditions team members to help develop a plan for the coming season.
"We're really excited to be sharing the hidden world of the Cahows with an even wider audience, and to collaborate with the Nonsuch team to create meaningful experiences for viewers that raise awareness about the continued need for conservation of the species."
As of the posting of this article in mid December, the Cahows had just completed the courtship phase of the upcoming nesting season, having returned to Nonsuch and the surrounding rocks in November for courtship, nest preparation and mating. Thus far this season 117 pairs have been verified putting us on track for a record. The birds have now left for the month of December and the females are expected to return to lay a single egg the first week in January.