Bird Island, Seychelles
|Nickname: Île aux Vaches|
Location of Bird Island in Seychelles
|Archipelago||Inner Islands, Seychelles|
|Adjacent bodies of water||Indian Ocean|
|Area||0.94 km2 (0.36 sq mi)|
|Length||1.77 km (1.1 mi)|
|Width||0.75 km (0.466 mi)|
|Coastline||4.46 km (2.771 mi)|
|Sub-Group||Northern Coral Group|
|Districts||La Digue and Inner Islands|
Bird Island Village
|Pop. density||40.4 /km2 (104.6 /sq mi)|
|Ethnic groups||Creole, French, East Africans, Indians.|
|ISO Code = SC-15|
Bird Island is the northernmost island in the Seychelles archipelago, 100 km from Mahe. The 0.94 km2 coral island is known for its birdlife, including sooty terns, fairy terns and common noddies, and for hawksbill and green turtles. It is now a private resort with 26 bungalows. It also contains a small weather station and a small landing strip Bird Island Airport which connects the island with Mahe.
Bird Island used to be known as "Île aux Vaches" due to the numerous dugongs (sea cows) that lived in nearby waters. Between 1896 and 1906, 17,000 tons of guano were removed from the island and exported to Mauritius as fertilizer. The island has been a coconut plantation, and for growing cash crops such as papaya and cotton.
Since 1967 it has been privately owned, and conservation measures have taken place such as protection of birdlife and hawksbill turtle nesting sites, the eradication of feral rats and rabbits and the translocation of a population of Seychelles sunbird.
Bird Island is named in honour of its spectacular colony of around 700,000 pairs of sooty tern that nest on the island. The birds arrive from late March, laying eggs in May and remaining until October before leaving the island. Another phenomena especially in October to December, arises from the geographical location of Bird Island on the northern edge of the Seychelles Bank. This means it is the first landfall for migratory Eurasian birds and Seychelles Bird Records Committee has recorded here many species new to the country.
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Flocks of sooty terns on Bird Island
- Newsletter of Bird Island Wildlife
- Bird Island Nature Conservation
- Seychelles Bird Records Committee
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