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Jaguar by Cherie Pitillo

First, thanks to each of you for your encouragement and faithful interest in my 10-year journey! You’ve warmed my heart with your comments or emails about each column. Many times you shared what you learned, and of course, this has been an inspiring pursuit of research and photography for me too! Could any of us anticipate that my asking the former owners of The Yucatan Times to offer a weekly birding column would have expanded to 277 columns since 2011?

Also special thanks for the continuation of our collaboration in 2013 to both the new TYT owner, Jose Urioste Palomeque, and Editor Alex for his day-to-day tireless efforts to input the column.

Amazing thanks and appreciation to both JoAnn Andrews and Barbara MacKinnon. Both have offered support, advice, birding trips, bird identification, and answers to my questions. What an honor to have been in the presence and learned from these magnificent conservationists!

Initially, I wrote weekly columns from 2011 through 2014 then switched to bi-weekly for two years. A server crash lost everything from 2011 through 2015. In 2016 The Yucatan Times also added my column to their two new newspapers, The Riviera Maya Times and San Miguel Times. I began writing monthly four years ago.

What’s unexpected is I’ve received comments and responses from

6 continents (no Antarctica yet)!

Speaking of comments, I’ve received permission from Paddy Woodworth, a brilliant Irishman of Dublin, to publish his email excerpt about my 2021 August column about feather pigmentation. We met in 2012 because three of my columns had mentioned restoration work in three Merida parks in 2011. He visited the Yucatan while researching his award-winning book, *Our Once and Future Planet.

“…your bulletins often brighten up my day, thank you. The photos in this piece are superb, breath-taking, and brought back good Mexican memories that all too often seem impossibly distant these days.

Glad to see you say that ‘even a dull feather’ is worth attention. I think it’s so important to help people see beauty in the commonplace, not just in the rare or exotic or spectacular. Twice in the last 24 hours I’ve fixated on the plumage of a wood pigeon, one of our most common local birds, as it foraged a few feet away. This morning, in the constant light rain the Basques call sirimiri its back plumage was scattered with tiny beads of water, altering my perception of its colouration. And then I opened your mail…”

I never expected to hear from anyone outside of Merida. Look what I’ve learned and my many readers have shared with me. Thanks again, everyone!

So once a week for the next three weeks, My Jaguar Journey, will be republished from 2017. I’d planned to select a variety of previous bird and mammal photos but then this series received more comments and email responses than any about birds. On more reflection, when the natural habitat for the top predator is protected, all wildlife and plants benefit. We need to be reminded about balanced ecosystems along with my reason for writing the column to use nature to achieve a balanced life. Birds provided the way to create interest in my work. I also hope people have realized the importance to donate to environmental organizations to protect natural areas.

I’ll continue more introspection in the next two weekly columns.


*Our Once and Future Planet


Cherie Pittillo, “nature-inspired,” photographer and author, explores nature everywhere she goes. She’s identified 56 bird species in her Merida, Yucatan backyard view. Her monthly column features anecdotes about birding in Merida, Yucatan and also wildlife beyond the Yucatan.

Contact: [email protected]  All rights reserved, ©Cherie Pittillo

San Miguel Times

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