It is a fascinating experience to locate any species of near extinct birds and two students of the University of East Anglia have done just that. They toiled for three months in search of the elusive Bahama nuthatch birds in the pine forests and covered more than 450 survey points across thousands of acres in their quest for the feathered friends. They used a recording of the sounds these birds make in order to attract them and managed to capture them on film in the island of Grand Bahama.

Sky News reports that this rare species of bird was believed to have disappeared because of Hurricane Matthew that struck the Bahamas in 2016 and destroyed the pine forest.

That was their natural habitat and its loss affected their survival.

Birds believed extinct make a comeback

This discovery will be great news for bird lovers. The Bahama nuthatch birds have a long bill, a distinctive high-pitched squeaky call, and are choosy about their nests. They select only mature pine trees and inhabit a small area of the Grand Bahama. However, Hurricane Matthew played havoc in the region in 2016. The pine trees fell and the birds suffered. They were already in the list of endangered species with only 23 sighted in 2007 against nearly 1800 in 2004.

It seems their numbers began to drop from the 1950s when timber removal began to destroy their habitat.

The exercise needed a lot of patience and the duo from the University of East Anglia toiled 700km on foot and even after six weeks, they had no success. Later they were joined by others from Birdlife International and the Bahamas National Trust who are engaged in activities related to protecting the habitats and species of the Bahama Islands.

Some local students also joined and, finally, the elusive Bahama nuthatch birds were seen.

The endangered birds need pine trees

According to The Independent UK, there were fears that they would have to be added to the list of extinct species after Hurricane Matthew struck with high-speed winds in 2016 which uprooted trees including the pines putting the survival of the birds at stake.

However, all is not lost as revealed by photographs taken by the students of the University of East Anglia. In the opinion of Michael Parr, president of American Bird Conservancy who is also a UEA alumnus, “the photographs clearly show this distinctive species and cannot be anything else. Fortunately, this is not a hard bird to identify, but it was certainly a hard bird to find.”

Dr Diana Bell, from UEA’s School of Biological Sciences, feels this critically endangered species is threatened by loss of habitat due to various reasons. Reviving them will be a difficult task because of the very low numbers left.