A group of birdwatchers with binoculars and cameras observing wildlife near a watchtower at sunset.

Discover the Stunning Birds of Cozumel’s Punta Sur Ecotourism Park

The Cozumel Parks and Museums Foundation (FPMC) is maintaining its Bird Monitoring Program at the Punta Sur Ecotourism Park. During their most recent expedition, they spotted 24 different bird species, including several migratory ones that use the area as a rest and feeding stop before continuing their journey. Alejandro Marchán Payán, FPMC's general director, emphasized that the bird sightings at Punta Sur underscore the environmental significance of the area due to its rich biodiversity, reaffirming its status as a protected natural area that conserves biological wealth.

Marchán Payán also noted that these activities facilitate the dissemination of information through an environmental culture that resonates within the community. This encourages interest and promotes a shift in attitudes towards the conservation and preservation of the island's natural resources, aptly named the "City of Birds".

Paulina Sabido Villanueva, the head of the Department of Conservation and Environmental Education (CEA), explained that the monitoring program has been conducted monthly for over nine years at Punta Sur. The process involves setting up "counting points" to visually and audibly identify the presence of birds in the area over a specific period.

On this particular occasion, they spotted 24 species, including the Least Tern (Sternula antillarum), a summer migratory bird that breeds and nests on beaches across the Yucatan Peninsula, including Cozumel. They also observed the Black Tern (Chlidonias niger), a rare transient bird for the island and Punta Sur, as it is only the second sighting in the park in eight years. Other notable sightings included the Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus), the Common Ground Dove (Columbina passerina), and winter and transient songbirds such as the Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens), American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla), and Bay-breasted Warbler (Setophaga castanea).

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The Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata) was also spotted, marking only the third sighting at Punta Sur. This species, which weighs less than 14 grams, undertakes the longest over-water journey of any songbird, covering nearly 2800 kilometers non-stop over the Atlantic Ocean for more than three days. However, during the spring, their journey is more relaxed, passing through the Antilles and Florida.

The latest bird-watching expedition included the participation of biologists and natural resource management graduates from CEA, as well as students from the Natural Resources degree program at UQROO, who are currently completing their social service at the FPMC.