Between 1955 and 2000, 12,074 Bananaquits were banded. A 2003 survey in
the Caribbean (Jamaica, Mexico and Puerto Rico) to detect resident and
migratory birds infected with West Nile Virus found that Bananaquits do
harbor the West Nile Virus (Dupuis II et al. 2003).
If you should recover a banded Bananaquit, please report the band number
to the Bird Banding Lab by calling 1-800-327-BAND.
Common resident throughout the West Indies, Southern Mexico
south to southern Brazil and northeast Argentina. Most numerous in settled
districts and secondary growth. Adapts well to human activity. Lives in
borders of open country, plantations, towns and forests.
With the wide distribution of this bird on so many islands
and across so many diverse cultures of the Caribbean, it is not surprising
to find that there are a plethora of colorful common names for this bird,
including Sugar Bird, Teasy, Beeny Bird (Jamaica), Yellowbreast (Lesser
Antilles), Banana Bird (Bahamas, Nevis, Cayman Islands), See-See Bird, Black
See-See (Grenada, St. Vincent), Ciguita (Dominican Republic), Reinita
(Puerto Rico), Sucrier (Haiti), Falle Juane, Sicrie Cage (Guadeloupe),
Sucrier à Poitrine Juane, Sucrier à Vente Jaune, (Guadeloupe, Martinique),
Suikerdiefje (Saba, St. Eustis, St. Martin), Paw-paw Bird, Marley Quit,
Bessie Coban, Honey-sucker, Gusanero, and Yellowbird (Antigua).
You may have noted the name of the author of the Field Guide
to the Birds of the West Indies listed below. Yes, the author really is
Ian Fleming, creator of the James Bond character, was an
avid wildlife watcher, and was acquainted with the real James Bond, who was
curator of Birds at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.
real James Bond began his research on Birds of the West Indies in 1926, and
continued throughout his career. As the story is told, after WWII, Ian
Fleming retired from British Intelligence and built his estate, named
Goldeneye, on the north shore of Jamaica. The best Caribbean field guide
available to birders at that time was likely the field guide by James Bond.
Ian kept a copy of "Birds of the West Indies" by James Bond on his kitchen
table at Goldeneye, and later chose this name for his famous character.
John Pearson wrote in his biography of Ian Fleming that
"James Bond was born at Goldeneye on the morning of the third Tuesday of
January, 1952, when Ian Fleming had just finished breakfast..." (Pearson
James Bond and his wife visited Ian at Goldeneye in the
early 1960's. John Pearson describes this visit as follows: "The
ornithologist who wrote Fleming's favorite 'Birds of the West Indies' was
visiting Jamaica with his wife, and far from being annoyed at what had
happened to his name since Fleming first borrowed it without permission,
invited himself to lunch. Fleming found them 'a charming couple who are
amused by the whole joke.'"
There is an interesting scene in the Bond movie "Die Another
Day." Pierce Brosnon arrives in Cuba to meet his contact. He retrieves a
book from the shelf and looks it over. The book he picked up was a copy of
the "Birds of the West Indies" by James Bond! Bond then retrieved a pair of
field glasses and took both the book and the field glasses and a fast car to
his next scene. There he passed himself off as an ornithologist!
Baicich, P. J. and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A Guide to the
Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds, 2nd Edition. Academic
Press, NY. 347 Pp.
Bond, James. 1993. A Field Guide to the Birds of the West
Indies. 5th Edition Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Co., NY.
Budenell-Bruce, P.G, C. 1975. The Birds of New Providence
and the Bahama Islands. Collins, Grafton Street, London. 142 Pp.
Dupuis II, A. P., P. P. Marra, L. D. Kramer (2003) Serologic
Evidence of West Nile Virus Transmission, Jamaica, West Indies. Emerging
Infectious Diseases 9(7):860-863 July 2003.
Pearson, John. 1966. The Life of Ian Fleming. McGraw-Hill Book Company, NY.
Raffaele, H., J. Wiley, O. Garrido, A. Keith, and J.
Raffaele. 1998. A Guide to the Birds of the West Indies. Princeton
University Press, Princeton, NJ. 510 Pp.
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