Second Bird Festival “Flying over the Península” en Cancún, Mexico!

December 1st – December 2nd, 2017

The Green Jay Mayan Birding Club held their second Bird Festival, “Flying over the Peninsula” in the Ka ‘Yok’ Planetarium in Cancún was a total success! People came from all over the Yucatan Peninsula from the Observadores de Aves de Mexico club, Canada, the US, and NGOs. The attendees included artists, children celebrating bird conservation, vendors from the local markets, people from media and the local authorities, and tour guides! It was beautiful to see everyone come together to learn more about birds and how to protect them.

The festival began with the “Flying over the Peninsula” photography exhibit! Photographers José Antonio Linaje, Juan Bou, Luis Guillermo, Luis Ku and Juan Flores hope that their photographs show everyone the beautiful birds that live in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Some of the festival workshops incorporated art! The Inlakech Collective put on the magnificent piece “Walk of Birds”, where bird sculptures were made out of recycled material. It was wonderful to see so many participants recognize the different bird species and take pictures with the bird sculptures. In another workshop, kids drew their favorite birds and talked about why they loved the birds they drew. Special thanks to the Inlakech Collective, especially Victor Puga, for merging education and bird conservation with art.

The Naturaleza Photographers (fotógrafos de Naturaleza) gave an amazing talk about how to take pictures of birds. The adult and youth participants learned about the importance of documenting bird observations in outlets like aVerAves (eBird) and the Naturalista platform, where you can share pictures of the diverse birds of Mexico.

People loved the International BirdSleuth workshops where they learned more about bird conservation through fun group discussions. One of the discussions was about the challenges birds face when they migrate. Children helped come up with small actions they can take to help migrating birds. They also talked about how important native plants are for their community and their natural environment. The Green Jay Mayan Birding Club shared the educational materials from Celebrate Urban Birds with all of the students. The students were excited to discover that the packet included 16 focal species in Mexico! Then they talked about how they can help keep those birds safe through citizen science.


The festival included different local product stands like Ecotianguis, who help promote food free from pesticides. They sold, plants, fruits, fresh water, tamales, honey, and cacao. There were also many NGOs present like the Area de Proteccion de Flora y Fauna Manglares de Nichupte, Parque Nacional Costa Occidental isla Mujeres, and Punta Cancún y Punta Nizuc. The NGO`s present included Maya Ka`an Amigos de Isla Contoy, and Mayan Heart who help advertise local products. The dirección de Ecología Municipal was there giving away 100 free local plants to help the birds. The kids were excited to go home and take care of their plant!

It was an honor to have Barbara MacKinnon at the festival. She gave a marvelous talk about the relationship between photography, education and bird conservation. Her guide,“Go Birding Yucatan 2nd Edition” is amazing! This guidebook has become an essential tool for any bird observer in the Yucatan Peninsula. Waldemar Santamaría discussed the importance this guidebook has in the program, “Go Birding Yucatan”. The children from Mayan communities and Juan Flores use this guidebook to help with community bird observations. The Secretary of Environment in the state of Quintana Roo (Secretaria del Medio Ambiente del Estado de Quintana Roo) awarded Barbara MacKinnon a recognition for her 40 years of hard work in bird conservation. It was a very special moment!

Juan Flores, Claudia Salazar, Karla Beytia, Elizabeth Jimenez, Carlos Flores and their assistants, Catalina Galindo, Gisela Maldonado y Cecilia Alvarez gave the results of the successful bird observations done in the protected area of Flora y Fauna Manglares of Nichupté from 2015 to 2017. Handouts included a virtual guidebook with 160 bird species out of the 199 that were monitored in that area.

In the second day of the “Flying over the Peninsula” festival, people came to observe their local birds! Thanks to everyone who participated and everyone who helped guide the groups of observers.

Special thanks to everyone who helped make this festival so spectacular: Marta, Karen, Jennifer thanks for believing in us, to Victor, Claudia, Oscar, Elsa, Eric, Anna María, Karla, Eli, Augusto, Gisela, Francisco, Karla, Catalina, Lupita, Javier, Lon, Helen, to the bird photographers, and the Green Jay Mayan Birding Club for traveling all over the Yucatan peninsula. Also, thanks to the Town and State Government, to all the NGOs, the local producers, Academics from several Universities and Institutes, the media for their coverage of the event, the youth and adult attendees and to all the Cancún community. Thanks for believing in us and let’s continue to celebrate these marvelous birds!

You can download the free guidebook by clicking here!

If you wish to contact Green Jay Mayan Birding Club click here!

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