When I approached co-founders of The Yucatan Times to begin a weekly backyard birding column in Merida, they immediately welcomed the idea. Initially, I concentrated on titles such as “What Bird Is That,” or “Where Is That Park?”. Along the way I’ve written poetry, a three-act play entitled “Smorgasbirds and Terror-tories,” some anecdotes, and ventured beyond the Yucatan. I’ve been given permission to write about any wildlife subject.
From the start beyond the scientific and common names in English, the inclusion of Spanish names and Mayan names were important because I wanted to honor the people and my friends living in the Yucatan. Also, a reference list was added and even though it’s not in the proper citation format, readers still could link to read my resources/references.
My primary goal was for people to get their nature fix. Research stresses the importance of nature for a balanced life or else people suffer from Nature Deficit Syndrome. Backyard Birding was a way to create interest. No one was required to learn bird names, but if a place or bird species piqued curiosity, then I urged readers to explore outdoors and/or to consider donations to environmental organizations that protect natural areas.
At first, I thought I could write light-hearted, yet accurate anecdotes about the species I’ve photographed in my backyard and in the Yucatan. When emails or comments from ornithologists or National Audubon Society members appeared, I needed to do more research. It’s been a confusing, time-devouring process since references don’t agree. I just don’t understand it all. So mistakes happen even when I really try to be accurate.
Last month I even typed the wrong name of friend, mentor, and conservationist, Barbara MacKinnon. Thank goodness The Yucatan Times corrected my error. As far as my inferences about what I research, that’s all on how I filter it and my opinions.
So now enjoy Part 2 of the most commented column, My Jaguar Journey. (Part 3 and my reflections on this ten-year journey will happen in another week or so.)
GO OUTDOORS TO RECEIVE NATURE’S GIFTS AND COME BACK NEXT MONTH FOR PART THREE
By Cherie Pitillo
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org All rights reserved, ©Cherie Pittillo
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