Facts about Bird Island in the Seychells
Regardless of the time of year you visit Bird Island, there is always something to see and do. It just depends on what exactly you wish to experience.
Please remember that you can do NOTHING on Bird Island with very little effort!!
Bird Island has no light pollution, so from November to April the night skies are particularly magnificent with clear views of all the major southern hemisphere constellations as well as some of the northern ones. We have no lights in our grounds at night for three reasons:
- To allow our guests to see the clear night skies.
- To provide minimum distraction to our feathered residents.
- Nesting Green Turtles and hatchlings can become badly disorientated by the presence of too much artificial light and can lose their way back to the sea as a result.
Throughout the year at least 20 different bird species can be seen, including resident seabirds and land birds, as well as non-breeding migrants. Bird Island can claim the highest number of first time records for any single island of the Seychelles. With 97 birds recorded, Bird Island is very close to being the first island to record 100 non-breeding migratory birds. For the really keen bird watcher the best months to visit the island are October, November and April, May. These are the months most affected by the changing winds from SE to NW and rare visitors can be blown off course in a westerly squall and they make landfall on Bird Island to rest before continuing their long journey north or south - depending on the time of year.
Some Interesting Birding Facts
Twenty-four species recorded in the Seychelles have first been seen on Bird Island of which seven species have still not been recorded elsewhere in the Seychelles.: (Stone Curlew, Jack Snipe, Eurasian Nightjar, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Whinchat, Pied Wheatear and Bimaculated Lark)
Three of the species new to Seychelles first recorded on Bird Island were also new for the entire African/Western Indian Ocean region: (Indian Pond Heron, Little Curlew and Pacific Swift)
Two of the species new to Seychelles first recorded on Bird Island were also new for the entire Southern Hemisphere: (Indian Pond Heron and Bimaculated Lark)
The Little Curlew record is also the most south-westerly record for this northeast Asian species and the Wattled Starling record from Bird is also the most easterly record for this continental African species and the Broad-billed Roller record from Bird is the most northerly record for the Madagascar race of this species.
The best time for snorkelling is between October and April, when the sea is calm and clear. During the South East winds the sea is not usually suitable for snorkelling as the snorkelling spots are exposed to the wind making the sea rough and visibility poor. Fortunately, swimming on the west coast in front of the Lodge is unaffected, as this part of the island is sheltered from the South Easterly winds during this time of year and the sea is usually fairly calm.
Filming ‘The Life of Birds’
We were privileged to have Sir David Attenborough film footage for two episodes of his BBC nature documentary – ‘Life of Birds’ here on Bird Island. Episode 8 ‘The Demands of the Egg’ was broadcast on 9th Dec 1998. The episode explored the lengths to which birds would go to ensure that their chicks are brought into the world. Attenborough began the 50-minute programme on Bird Island with the sooty terns, which had landed to lay their eggs having spent their lives on the wing. Further footage was shown during episode 9 – ‘The Problems of Parenthood’, when the sooty terns proved that there is safety in numbers from predators.