Should Mexico be Part of the ABA?

For those not familiar with the ABA area, it is (currently) defined as this:

Specifically, the area encompassed is the 49 continental United States, Canada, the French islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon, and adjacent waters to a distance of 200 miles from land or half the distance to a neighboring country, whichever is less.

Excluded by these boundaries are Bermuda, the Bahamas, Hawaii, and Greenland. –American Birding Association

The Nearctic ecozone covers Greenland, Canada, the U.S. minus southern Florida and a large portion of Mexico (as seen in the map).
Currently the ABA breaks off at the U.S. political border but as the map shows, the ecozone does not follow that rule. Of course, Southern Florida is excluded from this region, something that would not be wise of the ABA.

We propose this to the American Birding Association:

Include all of North America in the ABA There really is no reason that all of Mexico can’t be part of the ABA. It would provide great incentive for U.S. birders to travel into Mexico to add lifebirds. The more demand for birding in Mexico, the safer and better it would be too. Conservation is infectious so if Mexican citizens realize their habitat provides a steady income, they will protect it.
Potential Drawbacks: Borderland birding could decrease – would birders not care to bird the Rio Grande Valley any more? Would southeast Arizona lose some of its appeal when some of the “rare” birds could be much more easily “gotten” a few hundred miles south? We think it would actually be the opposite. Anyone who’s birded along the border do so for one main reason – the birding is AWESOME! This wouldn’t change but would actually improve as the habitat south improved. And for anyone who keeps a state list, why not a U.S. list?

We feel the ABA could be a leading force in promoting bird conservation in Mexico.

Crimson-collared Grosbeak
Crimson-collared Grosbeak

7 thoughts on “Should Mexico be Part of the ABA?

  1. I’m absolutely with you about including Mexico in the ABA area, but wonder whether you really mean “all of North America”–I think that would make the playing field way too uneven, particularly for those of us not able to get to Panama on a whim (I highly recommend Panama on a whim, though, especially if you do the Panama La Verde Birding Circuit, whence I returned last midnight!).

    What I’d really like to see i m m e d i a t e l y is a revision of the ABA listing categories to include the Mexican states.

    This whole issue has come up again and again, most recently in the Birding magazine devoted to Mexico a couple of years ago.

    Fight the good fight!

  2. Thank you Larry.

    Rick – We really think just adding Mexico would be a good start. Panama on a whim sounds fun regardless of boundaries 🙂 (love your pictures!!) The issue comes up but how do we make it a reality? The conservation benefits would be huge and the AMERICAN Birding Association maybe should include all the Americas.

    But the bottomline is still that cutting off the “countable” birds at the border is a slap in the face to birders from Mexico and any birders wanting to travel there.

  3. How we do it? Well, at the risk of my job, I’d suggest that all ABA members send a note to the ABA (use the “contact us” form at registering their desire to see Mexico added N O W . I love Mexico, its birds and its people, and while I wouldn’t exactly style it a “slap in the face” (now US immigration policy, that’s a slap in the face!), excluding the southern republic from the birding game is just silly–and deprives bird-conservation efforts of much of their effectiveness.
    And if you’re not an ABA member, join and then send the note!

  4. I’m all for it. It really makes no sense to include Canada but not Mexico. I’m not I’ve ever seen their justification for not including Mexico – has any seen any explanation as to why they don’t include it? In this current political climate, it could be viewed as subtly racist, even. I’m hoping it’s not. But the Mexico issue is one big reason I haven’t become a member of ABA yet.

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