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Playback: a birdwatching harmful practice in Yucatan

by Yucatan Times
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birds perched on bamboo poles

On the road leading to Vigía Chico, in Quintana Roo, a birdwatcher noticed the bad practices that a group of birdwatchers carried out for this purpose. This is called “playback”, a technique used to attract certain species, but which undermines their quality of life by altering their natural processes.

“I am not one to publish things that I don’t like, but this time it was a morning when everything was going well until we found a birdwatching agency on the road to Vigía Chico, and we realized that the guide was using playback to call the birds so that the clients would take pictures”, condemned Zendy Euan.

Through her Facebook account, the observer expressed her anger at the guides who, according to her, do not contribute anything to conservation: “We observed him and noticed how he was doing it, these kinds of people cannot be called bird guides, they do not contribute anything”.

Zendy Euan recalled that this group of birdwatchers were in a natural area where they are not charged for access.

“And yet they don’t have the consideration to behave in a natural environment. We approached him and asked him ‘where is he from’; and if he was an agency guide. His answer was ‘no se español’ and we explained to him where they were and that please don’t use the playback to call the birds”.

The woman explained that there were two vans with two French clients and one American, who were there until after midday carrying out this practice: “The agencies don’t care about conservation, they don’t give a damn, as long as they can make a profit”.

Vanessa Martínez, director of Proyecto Santa María, an association dedicated to the preservation of birds and their habitat in Yucatán, explained that playback consists of reproducing the sounds of a particular species in order to attract it.

“The call is placed; and that attracts them to the space where they are observing. It is an activity that is not recommended when bird watching or bird watching, because we can affect the birds that are being distributed there at that moment”.

Attracting birds with sounds, Martinez pointed out, especially if it is done on many occasions, can have a negative effect on their populations.

“For example, if it’s a nesting female, she’s going to respond to that call; and she’s going to stop tending to her nest. If it is a male that is taking care of its young, it will be affected by responding to this sound,” he concluded.

TYT Newsroom

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