A brief lesson in Bermuda History and the story of the interesting Cahow Bird. At one time it was estimated that Bermuda was inhabited by more than 500,000 Cahow Birds; for several hundred years the Birds were quite near extinction if not vanished but now making a healthy and steady come back. If it were not for the Cahow Birds however Bermuda could very well have been settled by the Spainards. How did this happen? In 1503 Spanish Explorer Juan de Bermudez discovered the uninhabited island by mistake and took name La Bermuda. However the Spanish were so scared of the unique eerie sounds of the Cahow bird; thinking that it was perhaps the sounds of the Devil; they never took settlement. It wasn’t until 1609 when Sir Admiral George Somers navigated a fleet of 9 ships including his own “Sea Venture” struck the island by accident in a fierce storm on the way to Virginia; therefore beginning British settlement and later colonization.
Dr. David Wingate a preeminent environmentalist began a program to keep the Cahow alive and to ensure future survival. By the time he retired from the program he created in 2001; he managed to protect 50 pairs of the world’s rarest sea bird.
The Cahow or Bermuda Petrel only come ashore to breed. Its scientific name Ptrerodroma Cahow comes from the Greek pteron (wing) and dromos (running).