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Booby Pond Visitors Centre, Little Cayman

Birders enjoy this facility, located on the southwest side of the island. Operated by the National Trust, this 1.2-mile-long brackish mangrove pond is the home of the Caribbean's largest breeding colony of red-footed boobies (Sula Sula) and a breeding colony of magnificent frigate birds.

Approximately 30% of the Caribbean population of red-footed boobies resides at this pond. Even without the help of binoculars, you can view the large white birds (or their large, gray offspring) in the trees. Over 7,000 make their home here.

The Visitors Centre includes exhibits on the island's many indigenous species, from the common crab to the seed shrimp to the pond's many resident birds. Friendly volunteers staff the center and welcome questions about the wildlife and about island life.

Did You Know?

The visitors center is part of the Booby Pond Nature Reserve is an international RAMSAR site. To obtain this recognition (which falls under the UN convention to protect wetlands for waterfowl habitats), a site has to meet strict environmental criteria and also be protected by local laws.

For a close-up look you can view the birds from two telescopes (available for use any time) on the porch. One telescope is positioned for use with wheelchairs or for those who would like to sit. The boobies fly about 40 mph and nest in crude constructions made of rough sticks. Admission is free, although donations are welcomed. A small gift shop sells locally made crafts and artwork.

What's That Smell?

At times, Booby Pond smells like rotten eggs or sulfur. This odor is due to hydrogen sulfide gas created from decomposing organic material in the pond.

Most times, the gas is released into the pond water so you don't smell it; when the water level drops, however, the harmless gas is released into the air.

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