Birds Not Likely To Affect Airport Construction

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A group of three bird experts from the CITMA, the Cuban Environmental Agency says the bird population in and around the airport site is not likely to affect the construction of the international airport at Argyle.

The objectives of the team headed by Dr. C. Hiram Gonzalez, were: to determine the type of bird species around the construction area, the impact of birds on the airport and the impact of the airport on the birds.

Four localities were selected, these were; The Argyle Hotel, Mt Pleasant, Brighton and Milligan Cay. Twenty-one species were reported, 16 of which they say do not cause a threat to aviation due to their weight and size. However it was noted that three of the species referred to as Raptors (Peregrine Falcon, Barn Owl, Broad Winged Hawk) may pose a threat because of their great size.

Thirteen species of birds were found around the Diamond landfill. These include the Barn Swallow and Cattle Egrett which may also pose a threat to aviation. The Cuban experts are recommending a system for continued monitoring.

The Magnificent Frigate Bird an aquatic bird is the biggest bird around the airport construction site and may also pose a threat to aviation due to its size and weight.
Dr. Gonzalez has indicated that there are measures that are put in place internationally to cause birds to migrate to other areas, and pending further studies, this is something that could be done here.

The experts say some birds will migrate on their own as construction increases, while others will remain due to remaining vegetation plots and agricultural ecosystem. They have recommended that the airport company establish a monitoring plan in these areas after the construction of the airport. They also recommend that after the birds migrate to a new location that a monitoring plan be set up in this new location to monitor future movement.

The Cuban experts concluded that St Vincent and the Grenadines has existing forest reserves, important bird areas and gardens that should guarantee the existence of these birds. They noted that the 21 species are endemic to SVG, and the areas surrounding the airport, and can be found elsewhere. As a result, the construction of the international airport will not affect the existence of the bird species in this country.

The three bird experts; Dr. C. Hiram Gonzalez, Alejandro Llanes, and Eneider Perez are expected back in the country during the migratory season to continue their study.

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