Birdwatching a Significant Force in Local Biodiversity Conservation

Luis E. Morales - San Pancho Bird Observatory
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February 8, 2022




A local team gathers during a San Pancho Christmas Bird Count (SPBO)

Birds connect our world, and they provide important ecological values that are indispensable for ecosystem functioning. Wild birds also have an enormous aesthetical value that provides the opportunity of engaging human communities in recreational, educational, economic, and nature conservation activities.

Bird diversity is particularly high at the Banderas Bay region of Mexico located along the Pacific coast between the states of Nayarit and Jalisco within the Terrestrial Priority Region 062 Rio Ameca-Sierra de Vallejo. A recent study shows the area is becoming an increasingly popular birding hotspot amongst both domestic and international tourist markets, associated to the rapid expansion of the tourism industry in Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit.


During the last decade, the Banderas Bay region and particularly a small village called of San Francisco (better known as San Pancho), located about 45 km north of Puerto Vallarta, has made significant advances in the implementation of a bird conservation strategy associated with collaborative efforts between multiple local and international partners in the public, private, academic, and social sectors.

The conservation efforts began with the San Pancho Birding Club, an educational project funded by the private sector in collaboration with local schools. The club was the seed for a gradual shift in the local community`s mindset from predation to conservation; specifically changing the habits of using wild birds for food or the pet trade. The birding club was also the foundation for a local birdwatching company, Birding San Pancho, to begin offering birding tours in the region in 2010.

Birdwatchers visiting during 2011 helped connect Birding San Pancho with Partners in Flight (PIF) through the Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO) based in Oregon, USA. The idea of the San Pancho Bird Observatory (SPBO) emerged as an attempt to develop and deliver a bird conservation model that could help advance bird and habitat conservation while increasing the environmental and social responsibility of the expanding birdwatching industry, and ultimately the entire tourism sector in the region.

The bird conservation model developed and delivered by SPBO over the last decade at the Banderas Bay region demonstrates that birds do connect our world and that birdwatching can be a significant force to advance biodiversity conservation while promoting the sustainable economic development of local communities.

Read the rest at Sonoran Joint Venture

Related: Puerto Vallarta: Birders Welcome (Timothy Real Estate Group)

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