MEXICO CITY – It’s wintertime in Mexico and with it come hundreds of wildlife species migrating from the cold northern part of the American continent to Mexico, Central and South America in search of more pleasant conditions for spending the season.
Migration is an impressive phenomenon of species on the move for thousands of miles (kilometers) to find more agreeable habitats, a reliable food supply and to assure their reproduction, Dr. Gerardo Ceballos, a specialist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), told EFE.
The vast number of species migrating to Mexico in the winter range from small insects like the monarch butterfly, which fly almost 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) from Canada, to gigantic mammals, like the gray whales “which make extraordinary travels: they swim more than 9,300 miles (15,000 kilometers) from Alaska to their southern destinations,” Ceballos said.
Birds including falcons, eaglets, turkey vultures, ducks, geese, pelicans and hummingbirds, plus bats and the monumental blue whales and humpback whales are other species that make the trip to different parts of Mexico and Central America.
Ceballos added that there are also species that migrate at different times of the year, like sea turtles that show up in the summer and reproduce on different Mexican beaches.
Biologist Rafael Calderon Parra told EFE that birds that migrate in winter from the north come principally to the southern part of the Mayan Jungle region and to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca.
The bird specialist said that in many of Mexico’s urban zones it is possible to observe migratory species such as Wilson’s warbler that flies down from Canada, and the American white pelican, which finds its winter home on the wetlands around Mexico City, Xochimilco, Texcoco, Cahlco, and others around the country.
While not all this wildlife is endangered, “the migratory species are a natural legacy that can become extinct only because of human activities and we are the only ones who can avoid that,” Ceballos warned.