Portraits of Resilience

Man-O-War

Hi! My name is Takiyah Mussington and I live on a beautiful island called Barbuda. Climate change is destroying what makes Barbuda special. 

What makes Barbuda special is our pink sand beaches, our rare bird called The Barbuda Warbler, our Lagoon and our Magnifi cent Frigatebird Sanctuary. On coral islands like Barbuda pink sand is formed from the limestone skeletons of corals, marine calcareous algae and other marine organisms. Barbuda’s white beaches are accented by the occurrence of pink sand which makes them very beautiful.

The island has a very rare bird all of its own, the Barbuda Warbler. Barbudans call it the Christmas Bird. The Barbuda Warbler is native to the island. Barbuda sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean sitting apart from the rest of the island chain. Having an endemic bird in the region is therefore something special to us Barbudans.

Codrington Lagoon is a mangrove wetland which takes nearly a third of the island. The water is shallow, clear and is home to much of the lobster, fi sh and other seafood that Barbudans eat. The village of Codrington, the main settlement on the island, is located on the eastern shore of the lagoon.

Our Magnifi cent Frigatebird Sanctuary is one of the main tourist attractions in Barbuda. Thousands of Frigatebirds from all over the Caribbean come here every year to mate. Mating season is from September to April. During the mating season the male Frigatebird displays a red breast to attract a mate. They lay an egg in a nest which is built on the mangroves. These birds cannot swim and they often steal fi sh from other birds. That’s why we call them Man-O-War.

Climate change will cause the seas to rise, more hurricanes and storms and strange weather. These can destroy our lagoon, the Frigatebird sanctuary, our warbler and pink sand beaches. Barbuda would not be the same after that.

— Takiyah Mussington

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