BirdLife: The Magazine Jan-Mar 2018 - Page 7

A flagship for community pride Among the reeds and marshes of Baja California, a vibrant flash of yellow may catch your eye. This is the Belding’s Yellowthroat Geothlypis beldingi. When we launched our Preventing Extinctions Programme back in September 2008, this striking New World warbler was one of our Critically Endangered focal species. Never straying more than 50 metres from the water’s edge, its highly specific habitat was being encroached upon by fires, development, and drainage for farmland. Fortunately, ProNatura (BirdLife in Mexico) know that one of the best ways to conserve a habitat is to instil it with interest and value in the eyes of the public. Their work has raised public awareness and helped train local tourist guides in avitourism, with surveying work helping the species to be downlisted to Endangered in 2011; and this year it has been downlisted further to Vulnerable. Belding’s Yellowthroat Geothlypis beldingi Photo by Pete Morris