Winsome, Donita and Sandra continue walking through the park until they approach a fenced in area. The sign states, “Parrot Conservation and Research Centre Botanical Gardens.”
Donita: This is what I really wanted to see! (Continues reading.) “Dedicated to preserving Dominica’s Wildlife.” Sandra: She is a real bird lover. You should see all the birdhouses and birdbaths Donita has in her yard! Winsome: Let’s go inside then. (They enter through the gate.) Here you will find many beautiful and interesting birds. Donita, if you name a bird you might be able to find it here. Donita: The Mountain Dove? Winsome: Yes, it is here. Donita: I’m sure you don’t have Chicken Hawks in this beautiful place. Winsome: Yes, it is here, also. Look over there. (She points to a bird sitting in tree.) Sandra: Why are some of the birds caged while others are flying about? Winsome: Good question! In the Gardens, you will see the Sisserou Parrot, caged because this is not its’ natural habitat. By the way, this is the national bird. Donita: This is truly a Bird Watchers paradise! Sandra: Can you recommend any books about the birds here? Winsome: Yes, there is a very good one by James Durand and Jim Baptiste, “Dominica’s Birds”. Donita: What’s the most unusual bird you have seen? Winsome: That’s a difficult question…. hmm. There’s the Sikye, who some people call the Bananquit. Then there’s the Green-throated Carib, and the Carib Grackel, Or maybe the Black-whiskered Vireo… There are just too many to choose the most unusual. Sandra: So do these birds actually stay here all year? None of them migrate? Winsome: Oh, yes, some of them do migrate. In fact, some of these birds originally came from America. Donita: Like which ones? Winsome: There’s the American Kestrel, the Warbler, Barn Owl, the Sandpiper and others from the migratory species. Even the Robin is not a Caribbean native. Sandra: Maybe once they got here, they didn’t want to leave. (Laughing) Donita: I can understand that! The aroma of the flowers, the perfect weather… What a wonderful place to live! It is going to be difficult to leave here and go back home. Winsome: It is a beautiful place, but like anywhere else, Dominica has had its’ problems, too. A hurricane came through here in 1979 and in eight hours this beautiful garden and the surrounding area were destroyed. Sandra: How terrible! I’m very curious: how large is the population? And how big is the island? Winsome: Roseau has a little over 14,000 people. Dominica is 30 miles long and Sixteen miles wide. Since you are a teacher, you might like to know that it is built on the ancient Kalinago Indian village of Sairi. It is the oldest and most important settlement on the island. (They continue strolling through the Garden.) Donita: I’d like to know more about the village. Sandra: Me, too. Winsome: I am happy to tell you more about it, but first do you have any questions about this section of the Garden? Donita: Are there any wild animals here? Winsome: (Laughing.) I don’t think you would like to meet the wild animals that our famous on our island! Sandra: Why do you say that? Donita: Are they dangerous? Winsome: There are twelve species of bats, the wild pig, the Agouti and the Opossum. And yes, some of them can be dangerous. Sandra: What is an agouti? Winsome: It’s a large rodent, about the size of a rodent with stripes. Both the agouti and the opossum are all over the island and are hunted during the open season.