Nestled in the hills of the parish of St. James, just a few miles from the bustling tourist hub of Montego Bay, is the serene and captivating Rocklands Bird Sanctuary. This sanctuary is a testament to Jamaica’s diverse and vibrant bird life and reflects a long-standing commitment to preserving the island’s natural heritage.
Rocklands Bird Sanctuary was established in the 1950s by Lisa Salmon, a Jamaican woman who was affectionately known as “The Bird Lady.” Lisa was renowned for her passion for Jamaican bird life and her dedication to its preservation. Over the years, she transformed her home and its surrounding land into a haven for local bird species, eventually opening it up to the public as the Rocklands Bird Sanctuary.
At Rocklands, visitors have the unique opportunity to interact with the birds directly. Many of the birds are so accustomed to human presence that they will eat seeds straight from the hands of visitors. One of the sanctuary’s most famous inhabitants is the national bird of Jamaica – the Red-billed Streamertail Hummingbird, also known as the Doctor Bird due to its long tail feathers that resemble a doctor’s coat from olden times. It’s a rare and delightful sight to have these small, iridescent creatures hovering just inches away, providing an unforgettable close-up view of one of nature’s most fascinating avian species.
In addition to the Doctor Bird, there are many other bird species that call Rocklands home, such as the Jamaican Oriole, the Yellow-faced Grassquit, and the Black-faced Grassquit. Visitors can also spot migratory birds that make a temporary home at the sanctuary during their long journey.
Lisa Salmon passed away in 2000, but the sanctuary continues to be a refuge for birdlife under the stewardship of her family and dedicated staff. Today, it remains a popular destination for bird watchers and nature lovers from around the world. The sanctuary also serves as a site for research and education on Jamaica’s bird species, contributing to the ongoing preservation of the island’s natural heritage.
Visiting the Rocklands Bird Sanctuary offers a chance to step away from the typical tourist trails and immerse oneself in Jamaica’s rich and diverse bird life. The sanctuary’s tranquil setting, combined with the opportunity to have a hands-on experience with some of Jamaica’s most beautiful birds, makes for a truly unique and enchanting visit.
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