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School children on La Digue installed eight bird baths to provide water for Seychelles Paradise-flycatcher. Photo courtesy of BirdLife International (www.birdlife.org).
School children on La Digue installed eight bird baths to provide water for Seychelles Paradise-flycatcher. Photo courtesy of BirdLife International (www.birdlife.org).Enlarge image

Seychelles school children secure water for endemic paradise-flycatcher

Birdwatch news team
Posted on: 24 Feb 2013

In a great example of kids getting involved in conservation, an after-school club called the Friends of the Flycatcher is helping to keep Seychelles Paradise-flycatcher watered, BirdLife International has said. The club, based on La Digue, the third-largest inhabited island in the Seychelles archipelago, has installed eight bird baths at different locations on the island for the benefit of the iconic bird, locally known as the Veuve.

A water source is very important to the birds, for both drinking and cleaning plumage, as well as to the insects the birds eat. However, during the dry season – which begins in May and lasts to October, with the peak in July/August – there is very little rain and natural water dries up.

During this period, birds have been observed going to domestic sources of water, which puts them in danger of drinking detergent and being caught by cats while on the ground, says Josiana Rose of the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA) and education officer at the Veuve Reserve, a nature reserve in the interior of the island.

The bird baths are manmade shallow pools, usually made of fibre glass, from which birds can drink, bathe, preen or cool off. They stand up to four feet above the ground on a wooden base.

“Provision of water baths for the flycatchers will give them safe and easy access to water for drinking and bathing during the dry season that persists for many months,” adds Rose.

Although still in its infancy, the club has been involved in a number of activities including cleaning up the island on World Clean-up Day and planting trees in the Veuve Reserve.

The Veuve Reserve holds the world’s only viable population of Seychelles Paradise-flycatcher, which is endemic to its eponymous island range. It is categorised as Critically Endangered by IUCN.
 

Seychelles Paradise-flycatcher
Nature Seychelles (BirdLife Partner) and the SNPA have been promoting the
conservation of the Critically Endangered Seychelles Paradise-flycatcher through
an advocacy and education project whose aim is to help protect the
species in its stronghold on La Digue.
Photo by Marion Schneider and Christoph Aistleitner (commons.wikimedia.org).



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