The winter season receives the natural legacy of migratory species

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    Photo courtesy of the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (Conabio), which shows a copy of a Black-crowned Warbler (Cardellina pusilla), on December 15, 2017, in Mexico City (Mexico). EFE / Rafael Calderón Parra / Courtesy Conabio.

    The winter season arrived and with it the migration of hundreds of species of animals that travel from the north of the American continent to Mexico, Central and South America looking for more suitable conditions to live this season.

    The migration is an impressive phenomenon of movement of the species that travel thousands of kilometers looking for more pleasant habitats, to obtain food or to assure its reproduction, explained to Efe Dr. Gerardo Ceballos, specialist of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

    During the winter they migrate to Mexican territory from small insects, such as the monarch butterfly, which travels more than four thousand kilometers from Canada, to large mammals, such as the gray whales “that make extraordinary journeys: they travel 15,000 kilometers from Alaska to the south” said Ceballos.

    Species of birds such as hawks, hawks, vultures, ducks, geese, pelicans, hummingbirds, bats, and the monumental blue and humpback whales are other species that reach diverse regions of Mexico and even the coasts of Central America.

    Ceballos added that there are also species that migrate at different times of the year, such as sea turtles that arrive in summer to breed on different beaches in the country.

    The biologist Rafael Calderón Parra explained to EFE that the birds that migrate in winter come from North America to Mexico, since the climate makes food not available in cold and frozen areas.

    They arrive mainly at the southern part of the Selva Maya region and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca.

    The bird specialist said that also in many urban areas of Mexico you can see migratory species such as the “black crown warbler” flying from Canada, or the “white pelican” that lands in the wetlands adjacent to Mexico City as Xochimilco, Texcoco, Cahlco, and in general in all the wetlands of the country.

    Calderón recognizes the importance of conserving natural ecosystems, since it is one of the main problems that birds face long in their journey: the loss of habitat and with it the scarcity of food.

    He highlighted the case of the “red beach” bird that travels from Alaska to Patagonia, and that must ensure its food in this long journey.

    In cities, birds face other obstacles. Calderón explained that “there are many birds that travel during the night and the lights of tall buildings have an effect of attraction, the birds become disoriented and collide”.

    Photo courtesy of the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (Conabio), which shows two specimens of American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), on December 15, 2017, in Lake Xochimilco, Mexico City (Mexico) ). EFE / Rafael Calderón Parra / Courtesy Conabio.

    Both specialists agree that illegal trade and hunting of species, predators such as cats, and the same people that destroy ecosystems, make migratory species more vulnerable when making their long journey.

    Although there are international treaties to protect migratory species, Calderón Parra and Dr. Ceballos agree that there are measures that civil society can take.

    Maintain green areas with more plants and troughs that attract birds, do not buy species that are at risk, take care of natural tourist sites, use biodegradable products, reduce the consumption of plastic and contaminants, and prevent pets from becoming predators are some of the measures that can be adopted.

    Although not all species are in any risk category, “migratory species are a natural legacy that can be extinguished only and exclusively by the activities of humans and we are the only ones that could avoid it,” Ceballos said.

    “It is very important that the public understands that in order to protect and save migratory species it is necessary that we become actors, not just spectators,” he concluded.

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