With a strong commitment to conservation and environmental protection, the Cayman Islands are a popular choice for bird watchers and the feathered friends they treasure. While the Cayman Islands is home to a wide variety of bird species; dozens of others make Cayman their home away from home, providing bird watchers a glimpse of up to 200 different species in peak season.
Over two hundred different bird species have been logged in the Cayman Islands, though many of these are, like their human counterparts, short-staying visitors that have flown in to escape the winter further north. About fifty species are all year-round residents, including significant populations of seabirds, waders and some interesting endemic birds that can be seen on all three islands.
Accessible bird watching areas in the islands include seven bird sanctuaries as well as mangrove margins, brackish and freshwater ponds and several areas of old growth forest. On Grand Cayman the sixty-five acres of the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park is a good place to start. Not far from George Town heading east you’ll find the Governor Michael Gore Bird Sanctuary, just under two acres in all but important because it acts as a reliable watering hole even in the dry season. The sanctuary was created by Michael Gore who was Cayman Islands Governor from 1992-95. Birds seen here include Plovers, Terns, Kingfishers, Fly-Catchers, Vireos, Herons and Egrets as well as ducks and Purple Gallinules.
Access to the pond is across a purpose-built boardwalk and there is a hide for viewing. Grand Cayman is also home to the Salina Reserve which has limited public access but covers over six-hundred acres of virtually untouched natural forest in the north-east of the island. This is an undisturbed wild habitat for the island’s breeding birds. A large area inland of South Sound (about 1,500 acres) of mangrove wetlands is also protected on Grand Cayman. The wetlands are an important sanctuary for resident birds and a crucial source of water for the island, contributing significantly to agricultural and natural irrigation resources. More accessible to the visitor is Meagre Bay Pond, a saltwater lagoon close to Bodden Town and another birding site popular with waders, including Snowy Egrets. Grand Cayman is not alone in providing sanctuaries for the islands’ bird population.