Barbara MacKinnon, pioneer in bird watching in Yucatán

After losing a parakeet that was more than just a pet but one of her few friends in Mexico, Barbara MacKinnon-Haskins became the first female birdwatcher in the Yucatán Peninsula, at a time when major developments had not yet impacted the local wildlife.

It was 48 years ago when this American-born but naturalized Mexican woman decided to dedicate her life to studying and promoting the conservation of birds and their habitats, despite having no professional background in these activities as she had studied Political Science.

What began as a hobby turned into a historic achievement: from merely observing birds, Barbara progressed to studying them, documenting them, and after many years of training through correspondence courses and observation in Yucatán and Quintana Roo, she created the first “Sal a Pajarear Yucatán” guide, which is still a reference today as it includes species from all three states of the peninsula.

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