I lived for 2 years on Ascension Island, to the north of St.Helena and used
as a Royal Naval station to guard Napoleon when he was on St.Helena.
The only ground birds there were wild Canary, Common Myna and a small
Waxbill, I am not sure of the scientific name. These were all introduced by
the early settlers to eat insect pests. The Myna was by far the most
successful bird there.
While I was there in the 1960s, the breeding grounds for the Sooty Terns
which at one time had covered a large part of the island had been decimated
by feral cats (brought in on purpose to control the rats which in turn had
arrived in ships cargo). Of course the cats did not bother with the rats
when there were millions of terns on the ground :-)
Fortunately, a large grant by the RSPB and others has seen a project
undertaken to remove the cats/rats and now the Sooty Tern colony is getting
larger once more, and other seabirds which were originally confined to
offshore rock islets and cliff sides are once more colonising the island,
these include Red and White-tailed Tropic-birds, Ascension Island
Frigate-bird and various Boobies etc.
Regards - Mike Simpson
Penrith, NSW, Australia
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