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Returning longtails herald spring

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First signs: longtails have been spotted at South Shore

The first longtails of 2017 were spotted along South Shore on Sunday, according to the president of the Bermuda Audubon Society.

Andrew Dobson said the four birds were observed off Warwick Long Bay.

“Four keen birdwatchers were looking along South Shore in the hope of spotting longtails as the first spring sightings often occur in the second week of February,” Mr Dobson said.

The return of the white-tailed birds to Bermuda traditionally signals warmer weather to come.

The birds spend the winter months on the open ocean to the south. “They will not be commonly seen along our coastline for a few more weeks when the weather is more settled and warmer,” Mr Dobson added.

He said the society had been busy preparing nesting boxes for the birds ahead of the breeding season.

“There are increasing pressures on breeding habitats for longtails as a result of both increased urbanisation and the loss of nesting cavities when storms cause cliff collapse,” he said.

The artificial “nest igloos” created by the group from styrofoam, fibrebond and cement, have proved “very successful” with “hundreds installed around Bermuda.”

Audubon volunteers preparing the latest batch of Longtail igloos (Photograph supplied)