|Will this road into a protected reserve be a blessing or a curse?|
I have several strategies I utilize when birding new areas. 1. Research my area for endemic birds like the Florida Scrub-Jay in.....Florida:) And 2. Find them first. Everything else will fall into place. The endemic species on our planet really face an uphill battle. And like the Florida Scrub-Jay, these birds could face extinction within the near future due to habitat loss and fragmentation of their habitat. This fragmentation can lead to the birds being "trapped" and confined within one area where they won't be able to breed with other populations. The good news is that there are people listening and work is being done to protect some of these areas like the Ocote region. But just how well protected are these "biospheres"?
When we visit these very special places, I try to memorize every little detail because I know it will change. The deeper into the life bird realm you go, the more you discover about the world around you. I am an observer. When I chose this life several years ago, I realized that I could one day face the inevitable possibility of a bird going extinct from my life list. There is profound sadness in that realization. Today's trek was a mixed bag of the good and bad.
On a positive note, the area was deemed as a protected space for our next bird, the Nava's Wren. I enjoy hummingbirds like the next person, but wrens and sparrows and terns and cryptic birds get my blood flowing. Our wrens in the Americas(yes, the US is included:) are spectacular. So we continued onwards. My heart started beating rapidly for this one.
It felt good. Everything else after this trek was gravy. But I was left sad after the observation. Does this bird have a chance? The Nava's Wren has a restricted range in easternmost Veracruz, one site in Western Chiapas(that would be us) and two in eastern Oaxaca. This bird is listed as Vulnerable due to its' limited range. Sometimes it's not that the bird is hunted or poached; it's just that it naturally has a small population that is vulnerable to human encroachment. While land has been set aside for these birds here in Chiapas, we also observed that farming has infiltrated this particular spot. Just what exactly defines a "protected" area? Hopefully some lines will be drawn to help keep this region TRULY protected. So for now I throw this question out to the international community? Are there natural areas in your part of the world that people are trying to develop but shouldn't?