The population of the Bahama nuthatch has been dwindling since the 1960s and a survey conducted last year put the number of these birds at just two. The decline could be a result of deforestation and consequent loss of habitat due to the increasing fragmentation of its pine forest. These birds are unique to the island of Grand Bahama and fall in the list of critically endangered species. Diana Bell, a conservation biologist, fears the worst. She feels the birds might not have survived the onslaught of hurricane dorian with wind speeds of 185mph.

Daily Mail UK explains the background. Diana Bell of the University of East Anglia says the hurricane has passed over the Bahamas and its effect is gradually emerging.

One of the casualties of this ecological disaster is the survival chances of the Bahama nuthatch. It falls in the category of the critically endangered with only two remaining since the last census in 2018. The storm took a heavy toll of the pine forests that are home to “birds and other wildlife which are not found anywhere else on the planet.”

Hurricanes destroyed the ecological balance

The Bahama nuthatch could be a casualty of Hurricane Dorian. There are different species of birds in the Bahamas but the nuthatch flies only on Grand Bahama, the northernmost of the islands.

These birds were a common sight even in the 1960s but the numbers have kept dropping. Surveys conducted in 1993, 2004 and 2007 revealed the danger signs. There were only a handful in a single tract of forest. Scientists viewed this with concern because it appeared to be heading for the worst, namely extinction.

Daily Mail UK adds that after Hurricane Matthew struck in 2016, scientists feared the birds were wiped out.

However, in 2018 a team of researchers reported observing two birds in one place at the same time. Obviously, extinction was inevitable for such a small population. The high-speed winds coupled with inundation of the land associated with the Hurricane Dorian meant there would be no safe shelter for the birds. The Environment took a severe beating. Professor Bell outlines a few possible reasons for the decline in numbers of the nuthatch. These could be the effect of storms due to climate change, the introduction of invasive species, and loss of habitat due to deforestation.

Dorian affected wildlife on the islands

According to Newsweek, the hurricane in the Bahamas devastated the region killed at least seven people and has had a direct effect on the wildlife.

There are fears that the Bahama nuthatch, a rare species of bird might have gone extinct. This is because the Caribbean pine forests are devastated. It is home to unique species of birds and other wildlife. Researchers say that the nuthatch witnessed a steep decline in population since 2004. At that time, the number was an estimated 1,800 and it dropped to only two before Dorian struck. These birds have suffered heavy loss of habitat over the years due to hurricanes and deforestation that played havoc with the environment. Trees were cut down to make way for developing tourism because the Bahamas is a favorite tourist destination.

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