Endemic to Bermuda, the Cahow, or Bermuda petrel is the 2nd or 3rd rarest seabird in the world and after being thought extinct since 1620, the cahow was only rediscovered in 1951. Here are 10 facts about the Cahow you probably don’t know, but should.
1. Bermuda is the only place in the world where Cahows live and specifically, Nonsuch Island its surrounding rocks is the only location in Bermuda where the birds have been found. To read more about the Cahow’s miraculous rediscovery, click here.
2. Cahows mate for life and each breeding pair only produce one egg per year. 40 to 50% of eggs fail to hatch, which helps to explain why the Cahow population is so slow to increase.
3. When Dr. David Wingate founded the Cahow Recovery Program in 1960, there were only 18 Cahow breeding pairs. Today, there are 117 breeding pairs.
4. Last nesting season saw 61 Cahow chicks successfully depart the nesting islands.
5. Adult Cahows abandon their chicks about a week before the chick is due to fly the nest and head out to sea. The chicks flying out to sea then learn to survive all on their own. Cahow chicks can take between 3 to 6 years to mature and can spend all of that time alone at sea before they are ready to return to Castle Harbour, Bermuda to find a mate and nest burrow.
6. Cahows can cover distances of up to 500 miles per day, often taking advantage of winds, storms and gales for a free ride.
7. Throughout the nesting period, Jeremey Madeiros conducts 2,000+ health checks on the Cahow chicks, which averages him checking on every chick in the colony every 2 days but more often during inclement weather.
8. Cahows survive mostly on a diet of squid, small fish and shrimp-like crustaceans.
9. Cahows have the ability to sleep while flying, with one half of the brain dozing off while the other half staying alert, before switching sides.
10. Cahows travel great distances to collect food for their young, often taking between 4 to 9 times to return to the nest and covering up to 4500 miles. The longest recorded distance for one feeding trip was almost 10,000 miles.
All facts and information courtesy of www.nonsuchisland.com.