A rare bird, thought extinct, resurfaces

At most, the world population of Bahama nuthatches (Sitta pusilla insularis) in modern times was only a few hundred, entirely restricted to pine forests on Grand Bahama Island.

As is so often the case with birds restricted to tiny areas, the subspecies was extremely vulnerable to habitat modification.

Already suffering from fire and development, the nuthatch was feared lost after Hurricane Matthew, a Category 5 storm in 2014, destroyed much of its remaining habitat.

Nevertheless, after crisscrossing (on foot) almost 250 miles of hopeful terrain, researchers finally sighted the nuthatch again.

It is now believed that a tiny number subsist, but whether this endemic population can survive and recover from such low numbers remains an open question.

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