Case Study D4: Bird Week on Christmas Island
Christmas Island is a nature lovers' paradise, with many unique and amazing creatures-it is widely known for the spectacle of the annual migration of red crabs. Now the birds of Christmas Island are capturing the imagination of nature lovers and researchers across the world.
The Christmas Island Tourist Association hosted the island's inaugural Bird Week in mid-2006, bringing recreational birdwatchers and scientists together. A highlight for the group was the opportunity to sight the world's rarest booby and frigate birds: the Abbott's booby and the Christmas Island frigatebird.
The residents of Christmas Island extended a very warm and friendly welcome to Bird Week visitors. The large papier-mâché birds created by the students at the Christmas Island District High School and used to decorate buildings and other structures around the island were particularly popular among the guests.
It was not all for fun: serious scientific research was undertaken during the week. Birdwatchers assisted scientists to catch Abbott's boobies high in the rainforest canopy, colour band Christmas Island goshawks (pictured), and find the elusive Christmas Island hawk-owl. These activities added valuable information to the existing knowledge of the birds and their environment.
The level of interest and enthusiasm among participants ensured that Bird Week will be held again.
The second Bird Week will be held in September 2007, and Christmas Island will host the inaugural Indian Ocean Seabird Group Conference in April 2008. It is hoped that the conference, which involves scientists and natural resource managers, will also become a regular event on Christmas Island.