Rancho Pint - The Mexico Page

Text and Photos ©2011 by J. Pint unless otherwise indicated.

Alphabetized list of bird names (in English) with page numbers

(This is a Word document. It will print just the right size for pasting into this book.

Photo Gallery

The Primavera Birdwatchers’ Club meets monthly and welcomes beginners to experts. Ranger Karina Aguilar (foreground right) was instrumental in producing a new guide to Bosque birds.


According to Oscar Reyna’s new bird guide, the Hooded Oriole (Icterus cucullatus) ranges from Coahuila to Veracruz in Mexico and likes to spend its winters in the Primavera Forest. Photo by Jesus Moreno.



The Varied Bunting (Passerina versicolor) can be found around the edges of oak forests and is a permanent resident of El Bosque La Primavera. Photo by Jesus Moreno


Birders in the Primavera Forest.

Spizella passerina, the Chipping Sparrow, likes to fly around in flocks of over 100 individuals. Photo by Jesus Moreno.


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Book Review

By John Pint

In early 2011, the Primavera Forest Service (in the state of Jalisco, Mexico) announced the publication of “Aves del Bosque La Primavera—Guía Ilustrada” (Illustrated Guide to the Birds of the Primavera Forest) by Oscar Reyna Bustos. This long-awaited book is, according to nature photographer Jesús Moreno, “The fruit of many years of hard work and a great deal of time spent in the field.”

The new guide is, indeed, jam-packed with 197 color photos and descriptions of birds you can spot in the Primavera Forest, from plain wrens and sparrows to more exotic or curious birds like the Lesser Roadrunner, the Mexican Parrotlet and the Painted Bunting. By the way, from this book I learned that the latter is called Colorín Sietecolores in Spanish, but Oscar Reyna’s detailed description of this beautiful bird suggests it proudly displays at least ten different colors, despite its name.

Let me start off by mentioning that even though this bird guide is in Spanish, it includes the English names of all the birds listed and its excellent photos will be extremely useful to speakers of any language. The book appears to have been published by the author with the financial backing of the city of Zapopan and the collaboration of the Primavera Forest Service, as well as the University of Guadalajara. It’s a paperback with 221 glossy pages and convenient front and back flaps for marking your place. It measures 22.5 by 15 by 1.2 centimeters and weighs around half a kilo.

Pyrocephalus rubinus  -  Photo by Jesus MorenoEach bird gets a page all to itself with a color photo, description and the other basic information all in Spanish. In addition, there are helpful silhouettes (by Karina Aguilar) of the 15 orders of birds represented. The heading of each page includes the order and family of the bird along with its Spanish, English and scientific names.

According to Mexican ornithologist Enrique Valdez, “Field guides for small areas like the Primavera Forest or Los Colomos present certain advantages: they are lightweight and easy for beginners to use without the bewildering options that could cause a birder to start banging his head against a tree. The disadvantages: they’re only good for one particular place and don’t include accidental species which often pop up.”

Fortunately, in this case, Oscar Reyna has taken pains not only to include the Primavera Forest’s 162 “residents” but also 35 of these “accidental species,” bringing the total number of birds covered to 197.

Oscar Reyna decided to illustrate his book with color photographs, a choice that surely cost him many years of patience, sweat and tears (especially where he has caught both the male and female of the species in the same picture). While photos show the birds as they really are, they don’t let us see all the essential details, as do drawings…but, then, coming up with 197 accurate drawings may be an even more daunting task than taking 197 quality photos of shy, elusive birds.

One notable problem with this book is that it does not have an alphabetical index. So, if your nephew Gerardo shouts, “Caray! I think I just saw a kingfisher!” there is no easy way you can quickly go to the photo of a Green Kingfisher on page 87 of this book. No, you are obliged to start hunting through a seven-page list of the book’s 197 birds, a list organized by order and then by family. This means you could only find that Kingfisher if you knew that it is a Cerylina of the family Alcedinidae of the order Coraciiformes. Well, if you happen to know all that, you are surely not a principiante (beginner), for whom this book was written.

To rectify this error, I have typed out an alphabetized list of the English names of these birds with the page numbers you need. This is a Word document you can print out at home after downloading it from here. Then you can paste it in the back of the book.

Despite this omission, the new bird guide is a great book and the price is most reasonable: 150 pesos. You can pick it up at the Park Service office in CONCENTRO (Av. Vallarta No. 6503 at the Periférico) in Guadalajara. They’re open from 9:00 to 4:00 weekdays, 9-2 on Saturdays, TEL 31-10-09-17. You can find their office (Local E-38) easily by going into the main entrance of the building (on Vallarta and surrounded by banks) and turning left as soon as you pass a small water fountain. Keep your eyes on the offices to your left. The Bosque’s is the only one with flower pots and “little deer” outside the door.

While you’re at CONCENTRO, you might also want to sign up for the Club de Observadores de Aves de la Primavera, which includes beginning, intermediate and expert birdwatchers and meets monthly (or contact Francisco Leon, fleon@bosquelaprimavera.com). But don’t wait too long. The number of people who can attend the monthly session is limited.

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